Okay, you have now imagined that your diet is completely healthy and delicious, and that you are the best version of yourself. But how do you translate that into real life? Nutritionist and health coach Eveline Keus, plans her life around her meals, loves to cook delicious food and travels the world for inspiration. In this monthly column, she will share her knowledge on how to eat healthy, without having to give up on great taste. And as a bonus, you will find easy recipes that even the most inexperienced cook can master!
Eating veggies is not always considered sexy or cool. However, I believe it to be super cool if I have loads of energy, have less food or sugar cravings and poop a beautiful ‘banana’. Yes, I said poop a banana, because that’s what you want it to look like. The fibres in fruits and vegetables, just like in grains, are super important for a good digestive system. This gives you, next to a smooth toilet visit, also less bloating and cramps.
Another benefit of making sure you eat enough veggies every day is the vitamins and minerals they contain. Vitamins and minerals take care of your immune system, in addition to your brain. Take for example magnesium, a mineral a lot of people lack nowadays. Magnesium is responsible for keeping you sharp during the day, helps with muscle pain or restless legs, takes care of a good night rest and helps with maintaining good memory. Very important stuff. Though it seems, most of us permanently lack magnesium in our systems. Green leaves are high in magnesium, but also in other minerals like potassium and don’t forget about the fibres. Funny enough, also banana contains quite some magnesium, just like nuts, dark and bitter chocolate and cacao.
So now you know the importance of eating your veggies. But how much of it should you eat? The Dutch government states 250 grams a day. Something a lot of Dutch people struggle with to get in. The World Health Organisation (WHO) states 500 grams of fruits and veggies combined per day. Over 90% of the people in the Netherlands do not reach this. Do you?
I have made it an art to eat as much veggies as I can per day. And believe me, I never feel like a rabbit. But if you ask me to eat cooked cauliflower or cooked green beans, I can imagine it is hard to eat lots of it. That’s why you need to make your oven and your blender your new best friend. Have you ever tried oven baked broccoli? Believe me, you’ll love it!
Let me take you through one of my days:
– I start the day with overnight oats or a smoothie. Either contains – next to (whole) fruits –vegetables. A raw grated carrot or raw zucchini for example. I promise you won’t even taste it!
– Then, I make a salad (sometimes even beforehand). I start with a grain, like quinoa, barley or buckwheat. Add all colours of the rainbow in veggies (tomato, radish, broccoli, pepper, rocket lettuce) and some good olive oil and balsamic vinegar usually does the trick. Some chickpeas or black beans (my favourite). A whole bunch of fresh parsley, mint or coriander and some sunflower seeds or pumpkinseeds. Bam! There is an awesome salad everyone will love and others will be jealous of.
– Last but not least, I love Italian food. So, let’s say I eat some pasta or risotto for dinner. I put some spinach in the blender with garlic, lemon juice and salt and I have an awesome sauce to start with (also see my pasta-recipe in my previous column). Then I roast some veggies in the oven or just in a pan, like fennel for example or green asparagus. Some cherry tomatoes, for extra colour (because everything will turn green with the spinach sauce) and maybe a boiled egg. A delicious and guilt free dinner – Yes, risotto can be guilt free if the rest of the day is healthy.
As you can see, I easily eat more than 500 grams of veggies per day. Also, when you eat enough during your 3 meals a day, you don’t even want a snack in between. You will be full enough until your next meal. All this good stuff you eat will keep your (sugar)cravings down and you will have loads of energy. As sugar will give you that rush, but will crush you right after. Vegetables do the opposite. They release their energy slowly, so you’ll have enough of it all day. Just make sure you give your body time to digest. No heavy lifting or running right after a meal. Your body can only do one thing at a time.
So what is your excuse to not eat your veggies every day? And what small things can you change today to get closer to your new goal: 500grams of rabbit… ehhm vegetables per day?
Let’s be clear, there is no need to change your entire lifestyle all at once. Small steps will keep changes in your diet easy to maintain. If you think: great advice, but I don’t know where to start.