In summer we eat salads with all our meals, but in winter we tend to eat a lot of roast meats, spaghetti Bolognese and curries. How can you encourage your family to eat more vegetables, other than potatoes, in winter?
Winter is the best time of year to enjoy many vegetables that are in season during the cooler months. When it comes to soups, you can be as creative as you like.
My daughter’s kindy teachers invited each child to bring in one vegetable and together they made a ‘rainbow soup’. You can try this at home, letting everyone choose one or two ingredients.
Mix up your soups – try a chunky minestrone-style, using stock or diluted tomato purée as a base, or a smooth, blended version for a different texture. Season with plenty of herbs or try spices such as turmeric, fenugreek and cumin for a mild curry flavour.
When serving soup as a stand-alone meal, add protein such as legumes (tinned four-bean mix) or meat and serve with multigrain bread and cheese, or my polenta loaf (see recipe).
Egg noodles are another great way to add protein and energy to a soup.
Don’t write off the humble potato. It can provide valuable energy for growing, active children, is a great source of potassium and vitamin C and can be baked, mashed or steamed.
If you must be wary of carbohydrates, look for newer varieties including Charisma, which has a lower glycaemic index, or the low-carbohydrate Bellita.
Try substituting half the potato with well-cooked cauliflower in a mash. Sweet potatoes have a lower glycaemic index and are delicious as baked wedges or a brightly coloured mash.
If you are going meat-free, you’ll need to make sure your family eats enough iron, zinc and protein. Try to include tofu, legumes, nuts, eggs or dairy. If you’re making a permanent change, it might be wise to consult an accredited dietitian.
You can bump up the vegie content or include sides with any meal.
Vegies should take up half the plate of the evening meal.
Try adding finely chopped spinach and grated carrot to Bolognese sauce and serve with broccoli.
Halve the chicken in a stir fry and add tofu, cashews and extra Asian greens. Add extra baked vegetables to a roast: try fennel, onions, parsnip and beetroot (tip: wrap beets in foil before baking for easy peeling).