Sneaking in the Veggies

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Screen shot 2012 10 10 at 10.16.17 AM Sneaking in the VeggiesBarbara Rolls, PhD, RD and her staff at the University of Pennsylvania found that they could lower the calories of meals by adding vegetable purees. Everyone enjoyed the food and they ate 200-350 fewer calories per meal!

Here are ways you can sneak in more veggies for your meals at home. It is a good idea to get everyone eating more veggies which bring more fiber and nutrients. The good news is that they lower the calories, too.

Follow these tips:

1. Match up the colors:

• Orange - carrots, winter squash; add pureed orange veggies to cheesy dishes like cheese dip, macaroni and cheese or casseroles.

• Red - tomatoes, beets; add red pureed veggies to chili, pasta, meatloaf, stews and casseroles

• Yellow/white - cauliflower; add pureed cauliflower to mashed potatoes, cream soups

• Green - broccoli, zucchini - add this to pasta sauce or rice dishes.

2. Cook until soft. In order for a puree to be nice and smooth and just slip in to a dish, be sure you cook the vegetables a little softer than you would for serving as a side dish. Puree in a food processor or blender.

3. Use about 25-33% veggies to start. We went up to half the amount in some recipes, but we think using a little less ensures success.

Best uses:

• Chili - add one extra can of tomatoes; add one cup diced or pureed pumpkin/winter squash

• Pasta - use more sauce; add pureed broccoli and chopped spinach - the spinach looks like herbs

• Mashed potatoes - use 2/3 potatoes and 1/3 cauliflower

• Macaroni and cheese - add 1 cup pureed carrots

• Casseroles - add 2 cups pureed veggies to most cas- serole recipes

• Pizza - put one more cup of chopped veggies on top

• Rice - add one or two cups of veggies to the liquid and puree in the blender. We like green stuff like spinach and herbs.

• Meatloaf - 2/3 lean meat, 1/3 pureed stew vegetables.

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