Thursday 16 January 2014

Extra Veg - my week of eating more fruit and veg

Inspired by Helen at Fuss Free Flavours, who has launched a challenge to encourage us to eat Extra Veg, I decided to spend a week making myself eat an extra portion of fruit and veg, on top of whatever I would normally have eaten. It made me realise that it's actually quite easy to eat more of your five a day, and with just a little more planning incorporate an extra piece of fruit or veg into your day. I even managed to eat some vegetables I don't like, by hiding them in my own food!

I took some homemade broccoli and stilton soup into work for my lunch; as I explained when I posted the recipe, I even managed to sneak in some courgette as an extra vegetable.


Today I made a delicious cake which I won't say too much about yet as it will be appearing on my blog shortly, other than to explain that the reason I've included it here is because it contains peaches.

I bought a recipe book on Amazon called the "Sneaky Chef" and it's full of really inventive ways to sneak vegetables into food. I decided to try a recipe for chicken fajitas with a cheese sauce; it appealed to me because the sauce called for stilton and I still had some left over from Christmas to use up. The hidden vegetables didn't sound like they would go with this at all but it worked surprisngly well and I couldn't even taste it.

Boil some cauliflower florets until tender. Peel and slice a quarter of a courgette so all the green is removed, and place the raw courgette with the cooked cauliflower in a food processor and blend until smooth.

You can freeze this if you like - maybe in an ice cube tray so you can add a couple of cubes to a meal.

While the recipe is a good way to hide veg, it isn't necessarily the healthiest. You mix a couple of spoonfuls of the vegetable puree with the same amount of mayonnaise and then crumble in some blue cheese.

Spread a little of the sauce over a flour tortilla

Then add some cooked chicken and any other fillings you want in your fajita

Roll up the tortilla and serve with rice or vegetables

I made canneloni for dinner tonight; a meat version for my boyfriend and a vegetarian version for me. I don't like spinach (I have eaten it several times, as it was a favourite of the children for whom I was an au pair, so I know I can't stand it) - but I do like spinach and ricotta ravioli, as long as there isn't too much spinach. On that basis I decided to make my own spinach and cottage cheese cannelloni following a Slimming World recipe, which I will post here soon. In the meantime here's a photo. It was the first time I've cooked with spinach - other than when I was making dinner for my au pair family - and I was surprised at how much it reduced down, but any more in the cannelloni would have been in my opinion too much.

This morning I had fruit on my porridge. Tinned fruit as well as fresh counts as one of your five a day, though it's healthier to choose tinned fruit in its own juice rather than in syrup. This is a tasty addition to porridge and I now prefer it with fruit rather than without.

 Today I largely failed but I was expecting that as I was out all day. I had a bowl of cereal as a hasty breakfast before going to Slimming World - I could have had fruit on my cereal but in my hurry completely forgot. Then I got the train straight after Slimming World to Bicester Village - if you haven't been before (and have some spare cash) then I highly recommend it. It's a designer outlet village north of London (not far from Oxford) with discounts of up to 75% - and in the January sale even bigger discounts. I got a Le Creuset casserole dish I've wanted for ages at half price, and I invested in a Mulberry Alexa! (Also half price). Lunch was a mini ham and cheese baguette at the train station as I got back late I'd already said to my boyfriend that we could have takeaway for dinner so overall it was a pretty unhealthy day. I did have pineapple on my pizza though, I wonder if that counts as an extra portion of fruit?!

Waiter... there's an unexpected topping on my pizza!

I made provencale chicken from a Slimming World recipe and tried out my new heart-shaped Le Creuset casserole dish. The recipe called for courgettes, which as I've mentioned I don't like, so I threw some into a blender and stirred the puree into the sauce. Job done! 

I found it a lot easier than I was expecting to eat more fruit and vegetables, particularly as I found ways to hide veg I didn't like, and I'd forgotten how much I enjoy fruit on porridge. It does involve a little extra time and effort or sometimes just remembering to do something different, but once it becomes habit I'm sure I will barely notice that it takes me a few minutes longer. I'm going to try and eat more fruit and veg as often as I can!

I'm sending this to Helen at Fuss Free Flavours for her Extra Veg challenge and am expecting my whole week's worth of recipes will earn me a pat on the back!


  1. I need to try some of these methods and hide veg my husband doesn't like! I also need to try and eat more veg generally as I know my diet is a bit lazy at the moment.

  2. some realy good ways of adding extra things you don't like. I love the topping on the pizza (tilly) and can't wait to find out what the cake is.


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