Fortunately I´m one of those people who actually like the taste of healthy food, so I can answer this question with a “yes”. (Don´t get me wrong though, I also have quite a taste for lots of unhealthy food as well.)
But I have to admit that, especially in winter, it´s sometimes a bit of a struggle to eat enough of the good stuff, because I, like so many others, tend to go for all that comfort food like chocolates, cakes and cookies.
So I made a deal with myself: whenever I indulge in one of the just mentioned little sins, I make myself eat one piece of fruit in order to balance it out. So far it works really well for me.
Generally it´s advisable to eat at least 3, better 5, portions of fruits and vegetables each day. This is actually not as difficult as it might sound at first.
If you´re into porridge or muesli for breakfast like me, just add a handful of dried or fresh fruits – dates and apricots or a couple of fresh or frozen berries for example. Then have a banana or an apple as a snack sometime during the day and choose at least one vegetable option to go along with your lunch and dinner. Et voilá – you already have included four portions of fruit and veggies, which is pretty good going for my standards.
And for some visuals: I´ve made a little water color of the veggies that are patiently waiting for their turn – which will be in about three hours. 😉
All of these, along with some beef, potatoes, zucchini, bell peppers and onions, are going to land in my “Roemertopf“(Roman pot).
The “Roemertopf” is an oval earthenware cooking pot that has to be soaked for about 30 minutes in cold water before you fill it with the seasoned veggies and meats of your choice. Depending on what you´re cooking it takes about 1 1/2 – 2 hours.
What makes this way of preparing your food so special is, that all contents are cooking in their own juices, so you don´t have to add any fats. It also means that most of the vitamins and minerals are being preserved. And what´s best – it tastes just amazing!!!
And now to some nutritional facts about the veggies in my painting:
Along with tomatoes, potatoes and bell peppers, the aubergine belongs to the nightshade plant family. In addition to the classic purple variety, aubergines are available in other colours including lavender, jade green, orange and yellow and in a range of shapes and sizes. The most popular variety of aubergine looks like a large, pear-shaped egg, hence the American name ‘eggplant.’
Aubergines are an excellent source of dietary fibre. They are also a good source of vitamins B1 and B6 and potassium. In addition it is high in the minerals copper, magnesium and manganese. Aubergines are rich in antioxidants, specifically nasunin found in aubergine skin – which gives it its purple colour. A potent antioxidant and free radical scavenger, nasunin has been found to protect the lipids (fats) in brain cell membranes.
The confusion about tomatoes being a ‘fruit’ or a ‘vegetable’ arises because of the differences in usage between scientists and cooks. Scientifically speaking, a tomato is definitely a fruit. As far as cooking is concerned, some things which are strictly fruits, such as tomatoes or bean pods, may be called ‘vegetables’ because they are used in savoury rather than sweet cooking. So you could say, that a tomato is technically the fruit of the tomato plant, but it’s used as a vegetable in cooking.
Tomatoes are mainly a source for carbohydrates with some fibre, but they are best known for their vitamin and mineral content which includes calcium, magnesium, beta-carotene (which becomes vitamin A when consumed), vitamins C and E, some B vitamins and vitamin K.
Research suggests that processing and cooking tomatoes can even increase their nutritional value, in particular, their antioxidant activity and lycopene compounds. So, in other words, making some pasta sauce would be more advisable than eating raw tomatoes in a salad.
The carrot, with its distinctive bright orange colour, is one of the most versatile root vegetables around – a result of its sweet flavour, which means it can be used raw or cooked, in sweet or savoury dishes.
And did you know, that up to the Middle Ages, all carrots were purple? The orange variety was first developed in 16th-century Holland by patriotic growers who bred it in tribute to the king, William I of Orange (/Oranje).
That old wive’s tale about carrots helping you see in the dark isn’t entirely off-target; they’re very high in betacarotene, which is an important nutrient in maintaining healthy eyes.
And like tomatoes, carrots benefit from being processed or cooked. An easy way to do this, is to grate carrots for a simple salad (best to use your food processor for this, otherwise it takes hours!). Then add some lemon juice, sugar (yes, I know, I know: bad stuff!), and olive oil. The last one is essential for an easier absorption of betacarotene into your body.
And how about you? Are you eating enough fruits and vegetables? What are your favorites?
Hope this post inspired you to include more fruits and vegetables into your daily diet!