Lily’s 3 tricks to upping your plant intake
Eating more plants might seem to be a ‘thing’ at the moment (plant-based food was declared 2018's top dining trend), but it has been the foundation of everything we do at Detox Kitchen over the past 8 years. Not only is eating more plants vital to our health and wellbeing, but is the most environmentally sustainable diet we can have.
I believe that the only way to get more plants into your diet is to create recipes that you crave. That are so delicious that you look forward to eating them every day. For me, my whole diet is based around this, and I truly do crave this kind of food. I love the idea that food that is doing my body and mind good, is also good for the soul. We have long been told that it’s either delicious or it’s healthy, but that is far from true. In fact, the more wholesome, fresh produce you consume, the more alive your taste buds become and the more you want those flavours in your meals. And in turn the less you want highly processed, high fat, high sugary foods.
Below are three simple things (the souper soup, the ultimate snack and the 5-a-day lunch) I make sure I do every day to ensure I’m getting a variety of micronutrients from plants, important phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that make me feel my best, whilst also keeping my taste buds happy!
1. The souper soup
If a juice or a smoothie is not your thing, a soup can be the perfect way to up your plant intake. I tend to have a soup every evening, usually with a salad or some extra roasted veggies. I find it’s a good way to top the day off with a boost of nutritious ingredients. The key to making a really nutritious soup is to not cook out the vegetables too much – and making a good base to add the veg to is key. For the base I use bay leaves, celery salt and steak seasoning, the combination of these ingredients will always make for a delicious soup! For 500ml of soup follow this simple recipe, I’ve used broccoli and peas but you can add any veg to yours, cauliflower and spinach work well, or peppers and tomatoes.
THE SOUPER SOUP RECIPE:
- 500ml water
- 70g red lentils
- 2 bay leaves
- ¼ tsp celery salt
- ¼ tsp steak seasoning
- ½ broccoli, chopped
- 100g frozen peas
- Place the water in a pan, along with the red lentils, bay leaves, celery salt and steak seasoning, bring the water to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes until the lentils are cooked.
- Add in the broccoli and frozen peas (keep a handful aside) and bring back to the boil, simmer for 5 minutes then turn the heat off.
- Use a stick blender to whizz the soup up to create a smooth texture.
- Add in the last handful of peas and gently blend them into the soup, to create a chunkier texture. Serve with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, a pinch of Malden salt and a grind of black pepper.
2. The Ultimate snack pot
I tend to get hungry between 3-5pm, which is often when I would reach for sugary snacks that I know will make me feel a bit rubbish. Instead, I’ve started taking a snack pot to work with me. This is actually something that I make for my kids every day, so it made sense for me to make an extra portion for myself! I tend to make a batch that will last a few days in the fridge but below is the recipe for 1 portion.
The Ultimate Snack pot recipe:
- 100g white beans
- Juice 1 lemon
- ½ tsp maple syrup
- Handful spinach
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- Handful of pumpkin seeds
- 4 carrot batons
- 4 cucumber batons
- Blitz the beans, lemon juice, maple syrup, spinach and oil in a small food processor. Season to taste.
- Tip into a pot and add the pumpkin seeds, carrot and cucumber batons.
3. The five-a-day lunch
I’ve always thought the 5-a-day quota for fruit and veg was a little on the light side, and so it’s no surprise that we are now advised to eat 7-10 portions per day. Might seem a bit overwhelming, but if you can get 5 a day into your lunch alone, you won’t need to think about it for the rest of the day. Generally a portion of fruit or veg is around a large handful and here’s an easy formula to follow to create yours:
The 5-a-day lunch formula:
Portion 1 – Beans and pulses
Portion 2 – vegetable
Portion 3 – vegetable
Portion 4 – vegetable
Portion 5 – fruit Example lunch 1:
Portion 1 – White beans (3 heaped tablespoons)
Portion 2 – Steamed Broccoli (three florets)
Portion 3 – Cherry and sundried tomatoes (1 tbsp sundried and 8 cherry tomatoes)
Portion 4 – Baby spinach (two handfuls)
Portion 5 – Avocado
To make: Finely chop the spinach and add to the beans, broccoli, tomatoes and avocado, season with salt, pepper and fresh basil, serve with a drizzle of good quality olive oil. Example lunch 2:
Portion 1 – Puy lentils (3 heaped tablespoons)
Portion 2 – Courgette (1/2 large courgette, raw and diced)
Portion 3 – Carrot (1/2 large carrot, peeled and diced)
Portion 4 – red pepper (1/2 red pepper, sliced)
Portion 5 – Apple (diced)
Extra: Capers (1 tbsp)
To make: Prepare all the veg and mix together in a bowl along with some toasted nuts and seeds, salt, pepper and olive oil.