How to get more veggies into your diet

Nutritionist and Centre Manager at Bupa UK
29 September 2016

We all know that we should be eating more fruit and veg, but sometimes saying it is much easier than doing it. Guidelines from the Department of Health state that we should aim to eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables every day. And there’s good reason to –people who eat more fruit and veg have a lower risk of heart disease and some types of cancer.

Man picking vegetables

You’ll get the most health benefits if you eat a variety of fruit and veg every day. Choose from fresh, frozen, canned or dried fruit and veg – and aim to include different types and colours.

Follow the five tips below to up your veggie intake and take a look at our general advice on healthy eating for more information.

  1. Although technically a fruit, tomatoes are a versatile way to make sauces for meals like curries and pasta dishes. Adding in onions, garlic, carrots or whatever else you fancy and then blending is an easy way to get more veg in. This is particularly good for fussy eaters!
  2. Make a salad to go with most meals, whether that’s lunch or dinner. The aim is for a third of your daily diet to be made up of fruit and vegetables, so start with filling a third of your plate with the good stuff. Build a base with some leaves (lettuce, rocket, whatever you fancy). Then add in a chunk of cucumber, five plum tomatoes, half an avocado and some red onion for flavour, and you’ve got yourself four portions. Easy!
  3. Add handfuls of spinach to everything! Spinach is great to add in at the end of stews, curries and even breakfast smoothies. It doesn’t have a strong flavour but provides you with some essential nutrients like vitamins C, A and iron.
  4. If you’re eating a lot of refined starchy carbs, like white bread and rice, switch to wholegrain versions and try replacing some with more veg. This tip is especially good if you’re trying to watch your weight. Blend cauliflower until it becomes like the consistency of rice; spiralize or julienne peel your courgette to make it look like spaghetti; and swap your bread for little gem lettuce cups. The list is endless!
  5. Make veg sticks like celery, cucumber and carrot for snacks and keep them at eye-level in the fridge so it prompts you to eat them. Even better, take them to work to have with a dip like low-fat hummus. This provides an essential protein hit and will help to keep you full throughout the day.

Just remember to add a variety of veg into each meal where you can. You can go for fresh, frozen or tinned – whichever is easiest for you. Planning your meals in advance and making a list for the supermarket can also help you to maximise your veg intake, while ensuring nothing gets wasted.

The recipe below is one you can get the whole family involved in. Or you can easily make it the night before ready for lunch the next day. It’s a quick, cheap way to use up any leftover veg lurking in the fridge and tastes great!

Tortilla pizza

Ingredients (serves 1 – increase quantities as required)

  • 1 wholewheat tortilla wrap
  • Tomato puree (approx 2-3 tbsp)
  • Handful of mushrooms, sliced
  • ½ a pepper sliced
  • Handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ½ tin of anchovy fillets/tuna/chorizo slices – whatever you fancy!
  • 1 spring onion chopped
  • ½ ball of mozzarella

Method

Pre-heat the grill or oven to approx 200°C.

Spread tomato puree onto the wrap and arrange the veg on top. Add your fish or meat, if you’re using any – and add chunks of the mozzarella ball wherever you want it.

Place under the grill or in the oven for 5-10 minutes – watching until it’s crispy but not burnt. Enjoy!

Tortilla pizza with mushroom and pepper 





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Victoria Evans
Nutritionist and Centre Manager at Bupa UK

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