11 easy ways to add more vegetables to your diet

You are what you eat. If you eat healthily you will be successful in warding off lifestyle diseases that have become common today. Vegetables in your diet are a must but are you getting enough? What is your excuse? Sharing some tried and tested methods of adding vegetables to the meals. Eating more vegetables is really simple, try out these hacks.

Doctors and fitness experts stress the importance of five-a-day, which means eating five or more helpings of vegetables each day. So, if you want to add more vegetables to your diet, but don't know how here is a little help for you. I'll share simple tricks that you can use to get yourself to eat the recommended daily dose of vegetables. Your fussy kids can also be cheated to eat vegetables. You can easily incorporate vegetables into your daily meals with these creative ideas. There are many interesting ways through which you can put veggies on your plate. So, let's get started.

Before I begin, I'll share a funny incident that happened recently. I am sure many of you will be able to relate to it. One of our friends was jokingly complaining that his wife grows stuff in their fridge. They go vegetable shopping once a fortnight and the lady picks up loads of veggies, which she stocks in the fridge and forgets about. The outcome is that there are fungus and other stuff growing on these piled up veggies. The way he narrated it was funny, but the main point was that they never got down to consuming all that goodness, and are allowing the veggies to rot.

The lady in her defence said she has every intention of cooking the veggies, which she buys because they're so fresh and brightly coloured, but fails to use them, because 'what to cook… you can't make a mixed vegetable sabzi every day'. I agreed with her; variety is the spice of life, you definitely cannot serve a similar kind of dish each day, but it's also a shame to let all those really good for you veggies to go to waste. Imagine all the nutrients, the antioxidants, the vitamins, minerals and fibre that you are depriving yourself of.

Frankly, there are a lot of ways in which you can have your five-a-day. Think salads, sandwiches and sambhar – pop fresh veggies into these dishes and voila you are sorted. That's one way, but it's repetitive right. What you want is variety – here are a few things that I do to add veggies on everyone's plate. A little preparation is all that is needed.

I too buy my veggies in bulk, instead of shopping for them every day.


Add them to everything

There are traditional ways of cooking dishes, and there is innovation. The most celebrated chefs experiment in their kitchens and that is how new dishes are born. You too can be inspired by them and start experimenting by adding vegetables to dishes that traditionally don't have veggies in them.

My mom made meat with a variety of veggies, starting with spinach, cabbage, colocasia, okra and more. This way we had our protein and the goodness of veggies in each meal. Just give the dish a unique name and see it become a hit

Dals with vegetables

All dals can be combined with veggies. The Parsi's do it with their dhansak. Add an assortment of finely chopped veggies to the pakoris you put in the kadhi, do the same to the dals you make. Lauki cooked with and channa dal is one of my favourite dishes. Palak and dal or methi and dal taste good too. Have you tried masoor dal with colocasia (arbi), it's yummy garnished with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and garam masala? (recipe on request)

If the family is fussy about eating veggies in the dal, do a cheat hack. Grind a carrot with the masala and it just merges with the dish. Cooking is not just about making tried and tested recipes; it's also about getting out of your comfort zone.

Add veggies to the dough

Finely chopped greens can be added to the dough or you can puree them and add too. Add grated beetroot when making pooris, learn to innovate. And the best part is it saves you the effort of preparing a separate dish.

We all eat stuffed parathas – allo paratha, gobhi paratha, pyaaz ka paratha and muli ka paratha. You can also make a paneer, cabbage and cheese paratha or a grated carrot, paneer and cheese paratha.

Veggies in chutneys

Making a chutney? Throw half a roasted bell pepper into it, no one will know it's there. When you begin experimenting start with a little quantity, to see how it turns out. Adjust flavours to mask the strong flavours of veggies.

There are a host of chutneys and dips that are made using vegetables and fruits. Have you heard of turai peel chutney or lauki peel chutney? There are so many novel recipes that make use of not just the fruit, but also the discards. Vegetable peels are loaded with nutrients, learn to make use of them.

Raita with a difference

You've probably made fried rice and vegetable pulao, that's a good way of serving veggies. There is also raita – there is so much that can be done with this simple everyday accompaniment. Blanch spinach and add to curd, grate and boil bottle gourd for a delicious lauki raita. You can also make bhindi raita, potato raita, cucumber raita, onion and tomato raita, pumpkin raita, bell pepper and even brinjal raita and even bathua and beetroot raita and many other variations. Leave a note in the comment section if you want recipes of some exotic raitas.

Stuffing vegetables with veggies

Serve stuffed vegetables, you can improvise the dish and the fillings. The all-time favourite fillings include peas, beans, carrots, cauliflower, corn kernels and the ubiquitous potatoes. Stuff bell peppers, tomatoes, bottle gourd, snake gourd, bitter gourd, potatoes and even buns.

stuffed buns

Veggies for breakfast

Start your day with vegetables on your plate. Serve a breakfast of bread and eggs with lightly sautéed veggies. Think tomatoes, mushrooms, bell peppers, zucchini and spinach. All you need is a little creativity to incorporate a healthy dose of veggies into your meals.

And there is, of course, upma, sambhar and poha, to which you can add healthy veggies.


Hide & Seek and in the Spotlight

You don't always have to camouflage the veggies in the food. When you make pizza or pasta or spaghetti announce that's how they are made – with extra vegetables.

Always serve a salad with your meals. It could be a desi style kachumber or a green salad. Having salad as meals with an assortment of dressings also works well.

Think soups and smoothies

Serve soup as part of the main meal or make a meal or it or serve it as something to fill the stomach before dinner. Soups can be your playground – puree anything and everything and add to soup and you won't need a thickening agent. Season it well, garnish with fresh cream and serve with croutons, garlic bread or breadsticks and there, you've got your daily dose of five.

A dip to your aid

I learnt to enjoy crudités with dips at official cocktail parties, where I accompanied my husband. The hors d'oeuvre served were generally deep-fried stuff and I always made a beeline for the crudités left unattended on the tables, in the lawns.

A mix of raw vegetables served with a healthy dip can be a filling and nutritious evening snack. Serve them with different types of hummus, green chutney, guacamole or a hung curd dip etc. The freshness and the crunch of the veggies pair so well with the creaminess of the dips.

Desi style

Grated and diced veggies can be added to dal kebabs and tikkis. Serve them with mint chutney and tamarind chutney. A platter of chaat can include sweet potatoes, regular potatoes (boiled and diced) tomatoes, cucumber, beetroot and carrot.

Tawa sabzi is so yummy, and if it can be served at wedding buffets why not at your dinner table?


Bring home bags full of seasonal vegetables now that you've got new ways of serving them. Let's hear about your techniques of serving more veggies to your family?


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