Spring time entertaining
As the weather gets warmer and the frost disappears it is time push up the sleeves, enjoy some sunshine and get outdoors. Can you smell the barbeque and see the picnics starting? A fresh crop of fruits and vegetables begin to appear, brightly coloured and bursting with nutrients just waiting to join you.
The more the merrier when it comes to vegetables; variety and quantity. Eating a vast array of colours equates to a range of vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals, as these compounds are responsible for many of the pigments that provide the colours in plant foods. As 96% of Australians are not eating the recommended 5 servings of vegetables a day this is definitely a habit to ‘spring’ into.
How can we include vegetables for tasty spring time entertaining?
1. Add in healthy fats. Don’t be scared of adding some fat. Fats add flavour and texture to food. Have you ever wondered why food tastes good when fried, the mouth feel of butter, cheese or chocolate? To keep on the healthy side, choose extra virgin olive oil and drizzle over vegetables to roast, barbeque or grill and give a good splash to salads. The fat will also aid absorption of fat soluble vitamins, A, D, E and K.
- barbequed asparagus, zucchini, capsicum and eggplant.
- Spring salads with red cabbage or green beans, nuts and feta cheese. Rokeby Filmjolk can be used to make a delicious yoghurt like dressing with lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, garlic and herbs
2. Include legumes. These are actually classed as vegetables and have the benefits, particularly for vegetarians of containing protein. How about a quick hummus dip that you can even use probiotic milk in (recipe here) to serve on your platter, lentil burgers in place of meat or smash up some canned kidney beans to add to your meat burger.
3. Make a slice or tart. Grating vegetables has always been a trick to boost the vegetable intake of kids, but it can work for big kids too. Grated zucchini, carrot, sweet potato and chopped spinach or other greens work well in tarts, quiches and savoury muffins. Throw in some fresh herbs to boost the flavor and antioxidant content even more. Try our zucchini tart for you next picnic.
4. Cut up vegetables rather than having all crackers with your cheese and dip platter. Snow peas, mushrooms, green beans and capsicum are all fresh in spring making not only a pretty platter to look at but one that your body will find appealing too.
As getting outside with spring pollens and dust can be an issue for some. It is great to know that research shows that a diet high in prebiotic fibre, which lots of vegetables contain, may be a way of helping to control asthma and possibly hay fever too (1, 2,3) by benefiting your good gut bacteria. Is it time to give your diet a spring clean? Start with a vegetable boost when you are enjoying some spring entertaining.