Having a green salad every day or the same steamed broccoli every night can get very boring. Fortunately, there are many interesting ways one can prepare vegetables to create a whole new taste experience:
- Mushroom burger. Try using a large grilled mushroom as a burger patty. Just be sure to use a low GI seed roll rather than a normal white burger bun.
- Grilled vegetable kebabs. Brush a “lite” Italian dressing over baby tomatoes, mushrooms, sliced baby marrow and red peppers. Push the pieces of vegetables onto skewers and grill until the vegetables are tender (i.e. about 6 to 8 minutes).
- Sweetcorn and barley salad. This salad makes a great low GI meal accompaniment and is perfect for serving at a braai. Mix together 1 sliced English cucumber, 2 cups of cooked barley, 2 cups of drained tinned sweetcorn and ¾ cup of chopped red peppers. For the dressing, mix together 3 tablespoons of white vinegar, 1 tablespoon of water, 1 ½ teaspoons of olive oil, ½ teaspoon of dried basil, ¼ teaspoon of salt and ⅛ teaspoon pepper. Taste the dressing and if you find it too tart, add ½ teaspoon of fructose. Pour the dressing over the salad and allow to marinate for at least 2 hours before serving.
- Fresh vegetable soup. In a large pot, place a range of chopped veggies of your choice (e.g. leeks, carrots, green beans, mushrooms, spinach, cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, baby marrow and celery) until tender. Add about 2 cups of chicken or vegetable stock and enough water to cover the vegetables. If you like a tomato flavour, you can add a tin of tomato and onion mix as well. Season with salt, pepper and herbs of your choice. Bring to the boil for about 10 minutes and then allow to simmer on a lower heat for another 10 to 15 minutes or until all the vegetables are soft. This soup can also be frozen in portions for a quick meal at a later stage.
- Make your salad more interesting by adding unusual ingredients. For example, try including veggies raw that you’d usually eat cooked (e.g. asparagus, broccoli, baby marrow and cauliflower).You could even use spinach leaves instead of lettuce leaves.
Fresh ideas with fruit
Fruit makes a tasty and convenient snack. Try these unusual ways of preparing fruit for a new and exciting snack:
- Baked fruit slices. Cut apples, pears or peaches into chunks, brush lightly with canola oil and sprinkle generously with cinnamon. Place the fruit pieces on a baking tray and bake until tender.
- Citrus fruit dip. Mix together ½ cup low-fat or fat-free citrus-flavoured (e.g. naartjie flavoured) yoghurt, 1 teaspoon of lemon juice and 1 teaspoon lemon zest. Serve with pineapple pieces, strawberries, papaya chunks, sliced bananas and grapes.
- Fruity ice lollies. Blend together sliced strawberries and bananas, ¼ cup fresh orange juice, and ¾ cup low-fat or fat-free strawberry yogurt until smooth. Pour the mixture into plastic ice lolly moulds (available at most supermarkets) and freeze until completely frozen.
- Fruity salad. Add sliced strawberries, naartjie segments or apple slices to your salad.
- Grilled fruit kebabs. Thread cubes of fruit (e.g. sweetmelon, spanspek, pineapple, mango, banana, apples, pear or plums) onto skewers. Place skewers on a baking tray and sprinkle lightly with brown sugar. Grill for about 2 minutes on each side or until the sugar has begun to bubble slightly
- Berry delight. Defrost 2 cups of frozen berries and place in an oven-proof dish. Sprinkle with ⅛ teaspoon of cinnamon and top with ⅓ cup of low GI or low fat muesli. Bake at 180°C for about 30 minutes or until the berries are bubbling. Serve with low-fat or fat-free ice cream or yoghurt