Everyone loves vegetables, right?
At least that’s what I thought when I was a kid, as in my family, we were brought up to love vegetables. Every meal always included at least one plate of plain green vegetables (which is quite common in Chinese culture) and the importance of ‘eating your greens’ was always stressed at the dinner table. As well as finishing you rice, because apparently the more grains you leave in the bowl, the uglier your husband will be…..not that we believed it, but let’s not talk about that for now!
So I honestly thought that loving your vegetables was just the norm, until I grew up a little bit, got to the primary school age, started inviting friends over for play dates, and seeing them pick the ‘little green bits’ out of their noodles because greens were ‘disgusting’. I guess not everyone shared the same love for veggies!
And this lack of love for the veggies only became more and more apparent as I went into dietetics, realising that I’m really only in the small minority when I say I have at least 5 serves of veggies a day. Only 7% of Australians meet this guideline- we all know they’re good for you, but most of us still struggle to have enough of them. It’s no wonder that us dietitians keep on talking about eating your vegetables all the time!
Whether you love your greens or not, there are so many different varieties of vegetables and so many different ways of cooking them, there’s sure to be a selection to suit one’s taste and to make up the 5 a day. And although 5 may sound daunting to some, it really isn’t as much as you may think it to be! (Check our this visual guide from The Kitchn to see what a day’s worth of fruit and veg might look like- you’ll be surprised!)
As a general guide, 1 cup of raw vegetables and 1/2 a cup of cooked makes a serve- my ‘side’ salad of a cup of leafy greens, a medium tomato and slices of cucumber already exceeds two serves of veggies. Adding some extra veggies to my stir fries or curries easily takes me up to my 5 serves in a day!
I always try to pack in plenty of veggies in my lunches. In summer this usually just means salad and in winter, this usually means veggie packed curries, stews and soups. I also like to plan and prep my work lunches on the weekends, that way I have plenty of time to make sure I have the ingredients I need and don’t end up stressing out on weekday nights or bring a last minute throw together lunch.
On the weekend, I made these chickpea, spinach and chorizo frittatas to go in my lunchbox along with a simple green salad. Whilst I’m not usually too fond of chorizo (it’s a little too fatty for my liking), it’s addition to the frittata adds so much flavour you really don’t need to add any salt or seasoning! It’s super simple to make and means I don’t have to think about cooking lunches for a couple more days!
- 1/2 small onion
- 1 clove of garlic
- Olive oil
- 1/2 roasted red capsicum
- 100g cooked chickpeas (I used canned)
- 1 medium chorizo
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 2 big handfuls spinach
- 3 eggs, beaten
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Spray 12 muffin cups with cooking spray.
- Finely chop the onion and garlic and saute in a frying pan in a good glug of olive oil until soft and fragrant.
- Dice the red capsicum and chorizo into chickpea-sized chunks and add to the pan with the chickpeas and paprika.
- Saute everything together until the orangy paprika oils run from the chorizo.
- Add the spinach and keep stirring until it wilts and everything starts to meld together in the pan.
- Spoon the mixture among the prepared pans. Use a fork to whisk together the eggs in a jug. Pour the egg over the chickpea mixture.
- Bake in oven for 30 minutes or until just set. Set aside in the pan for 5 minutes to cool slightly before turning onto a wire rack. Sprinkle with a little sea salt. Serve hot or room temperature as a tapas or with a salad.