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Get Ahead Kids - Vol. 6, No. 2 - March/April 2014

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How to Get Your Family Eating More Veggies

By Susan Wilson

We all know eating a wide variety of vegetables is vital for good health, but did you know that filling up on such dense nutrition helps you stave off cravings and make better food choices?

Did you know?

Vegetables should always be eaten with fat. Many of the important minerals in vegetables - A, E, K and D - are fat-soluble only. Add some avo to your salads, and olive oil or butter to your veggies just like your grandmother used to... You're not absorbing the maximum nutrients if you don't.

Here are some clever ways to sneak more veggies into your family meals:

  • Add a large handful of spinach to berry smoothies
    The berries will mask the colour and flavour of the spinach.

  • Make a batch of green guacamole to serve with tacos or chicken
    Use one avocado, a good squeeze of lemon, half a finely diced tomato and season with some salt and pepper. Add some toasted tortillas to serve.

  • Camouflage with purees
    Puree peas, pumpkin and carrot until smooth and fold through mash potato for a lighter version of a household favourite.

  • Bulk with broccoli
    Add chopped broccoli florets (lightly steamed) to the base of Bacon and Egg Cupcakes for some texture and green goodness.

  • Try coco-nutty cabbage
    Wilt green cabbage down in a pan with coconut oil. Stir through a ¼ cup of desiccated coconut until lightly toasted. The sweetness and crunchy texture will mask the cabbage-y flavor.

  • Layer spinach in lasagna
    Wilt down three cups of spinach in butter or coconut oil and layer between sheets of pasta in a lasagne.

  • Make bacon Brussels sprouts
    Roast one rasher of bacon, chop in a pan with one cup of brussels sprouts, cut into quarters, or one cup cabbage, cut into 3cm thick wedges, in a 200°C oven for 30 minutes, stirring a few times. Serve with a splash of apple cider vinegar.

  • Make a large batch of pesto and freeze it in smaller serves
    This is a great time saver and an easy way to inject healthy flavour into any meal. Simply make your pesto of choice and freeze in ice trays. Pop out a few cubes and stir through pasta or quinoa.

  • Make green spaghetti
    Use a regular peeler or a fancy ribboning tool, peel zucchinis to resemble spaghetti. Stir through a low sugar pasta sauce or pesto with a dollop of ricotta cheese on top.

  • Mum's the word: Let the cat out of the bag
    Once your kids have tried a recipe with hidden veggies a few times, let them know! Explain that the reason it tastes so good is because the carrot made it sweet or the beetroot added colour.

Bonus! The best way to cook greens

Steaming is my preferred method; always served with some olive, coconut or macadamia oil, or a generous knob of butter. A double steamer works best, otherwise use a bamboo steamer atop a saucepan, or a mesh steamer placed in a saucepan. Layer the vegetables, placing the longest-to-cook (and stalks) at the bottom first, and then add those that only need a quick heat-through (leaves) on top. Any vegetables that need to be boiled (such as frozen peas) can be done underneath (in the saucepan of water) at the same time.

About Sarah Wilson

Sarah is an author, TV host, blogger and wellness coach whose journalism career has spanned 20 years across television, radio, magazines, newspapers and online. She's the former editor of Cosmopolitan magazine and was the host of the first series of MasterChef Australia, the highest rating show in Australian TV history.

She appears regularly as a commentator on a range of programs including Channel 7 Sunday Night, The Morning Show, Sunrise and Weekend Sunrise, Ten Network's Good News Week and The Project, Nine's 60 Minutes and A Current Affair.

She's also a qualified Health Coach with the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York. Sarah's 8-Week Program has seen over 280,000 people quit sugar.

Sarah is the author of the Australian best-seller I Quit Sugar, released as a best-seller in the UK in January 2014, and due for release in the USA this April. She's also authored the best-selling series of eBooks from, including I Quit Sugar: an 8-week program, I Quit Sugar Cookbook, I Quit Sugar Chocolate Cookbook, I Quit Sugar Christmas Cookbook and the recent release, I Quit Sugar Kids Cookbook. Her second print book is available in stores February 26.

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