5 Easy Ways to Increase your Vegetable Intake

by Anne Myers-Wright RD/APD

Posted on Aug 18, 10:09 AM in and . No comments.

by Laura Reilly, MSc Food, Nutrition & Health

Do you find it difficult to eat your greens? The great news is there are so many easy ways to add vegetables (including the greens) to everyday food items. Eating more vegetables is a great way to increase your fibre intake and to make sure that you’re not missing out on important vitamins and minerals.

Currently, vegetable (and fruit) intake in the UK amongst both children and adults falls below the recommended guidelines (1). There are many health benefits associated with a diet high in vegetables, including the fact they may serve as protective against many non-communicable diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.

If you are struggling to eat more vegetables – here are our top 5 tips to help you to add more to your diet.

1. Increase the variety on your plate

Research has shown that serving a variety of vegetables at each meal (rather than just including one on your plate) can increase vegetable intake (2). This could be as simple as adding one or two extra types of vegetables each time you eat – for example, instead of serving broccoli alone, why not try broccoli, baby corn and roasted cherry tomatoes? Eating the same vegetables for most meals can become boring and bland for our taste buds. If you can, mix things up and try something your palette hasn’t had in a while.

2. Buy vegetables that are in-season where possible

This is great for a number of reasons:

- Introduces variety and diversifies your meals! Buying vegetables that are in their natural growing season means you can experiment with new vegetables that you might not have tried before. The British Dietetic Association has a handy guide to in-season fruit and veg here. Keep an eye out for them in your local grocery store or farmers market.

- Easier on your wallet – when produce is purchased within its natural growing season, it can usually be found in abundance which means it can be less expensive than other times of the year.

- Better on the environment – local and in-season produce has less travel time to reach your supermarket shelf.

- Your veg will be fresher and tastier.

3. Try different cooking methods

If you don’t like a certain vegetable that you’ve only ever tried boiled then give roasting it a try! For example, try roasting squash, courgette or carrots. You may be surprised at how a different cooking method may change the flavour and texture of the vegetable so it’s more appealing to your taste buds.

Try these different ways with a vegetable you are not sure of: mash it, bake it, fry it, grill it, roast it, sauté it or eat it raw.

4. Add into soups, sauces or smoothies

Soups are an excellent way to eat lots of vegetables at once. Making soup is also a great way of using up leftovers (such as extra potatoes, carrots or broccoli from dinner the night before) rather than throwing them out. Puree the vegetables and add some spices to make soup out of it. BBC food has some great soup recipes, including Mary Berry’s butternut squash soup which you can find here

The next time you’re adding a sauce to a pasta dish, consider blending some vegetables into the sauce ( for example, you could blend cooked mushrooms into a creamy sauce or blend roasted peppers and tomatoes into a tomato based sauce).
You can sneak some vegetables into recipes without a lot of drama (for example, try adding spinach, celery, cucumber or beetroot into a morning smoothie. When mixed in with some fruit, you’ll forget there’s even veg in there!)

5. Don’t be afraid to use frozen vegetables

If you find that you’re not eating much veg with your meals because you don’t know where to begin with how to cook and add them into your meal or you don’t have much time – then don’t be afraid to use frozen vegetables.

There are plenty of great mixed-bags of frozen veg available in most supermarkets. You may be surprised to find that these are just as nutritious as fresh veg. Frozen veg can mean less time while not compromising on nutrients.

Try adding:
frozen peas into a fish pie
a frozen mixed-bag of veg into a stir-fry or a Sunday roast.


1) National Diet and Nutrition Survey Rolling programme Years 9 to 11 (2016/2017 to 2018/2019).

2) Meengs JS, Roe LS, Rolls BJ. Vegetable variety: an effective strategy to increase vegetable intake in adults. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. 2012 Aug 1;112(8):1211-5

About the author

Anne Myers-Wright

Anne Myers-Wright RD/APD

Anne is a Health Professions Council (HPC) registered dietitian (RD), an Accredited Practicing Dietitian (APD- Australia), a fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA), a member of the British Dietetic Association, The Nutrition Society and of The Dietetics Association of Australia.


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