March is Veggie Month!

March is Veggie month! Organised by Animal Aid to encourage us to reduce our meat intake, March is exciting, because there are so many fresh fruit and vegetables in season. Even if you’re not a vegetarian, it’s a great time to try out new recipes and different vegetables.

Not only a great source of fibre, both soluble and insoluble which makes them good for our digestion, vegetables also help to regulate blood sugar. They contain a huge amount of vitamins and minerals, and plenty of anti oxidants, particularly spinach, kale, broccoli and sprouts. They also contain phytonutrients, natural plant chemicals that can’t be recreated. Different phytonutrients are contained in different vegetables and so this is why a varied diet is so important.

We are all encouraged to enjoy 5 a day – for some of us this is easy, but if you are unprepared, 5 can sometimes be quite a challenge! Its always best to be organised, have a wide variety of fresh vegetables in your fridge, but always keep a large selection in your freezer too, just in case. The recommended amount is actually 400gms a day, but some studies have shown that 800gms or 10 fruit and vegetables a day have a much stronger protection rate against all forms of mortality.

During March, its easy to increase your vegetable intake – why not experiment with butternut squash noodles, courgetti spaghetti and cauliflour rice. And for those of us with a sweet tooth, why not try beetroot brownies, courgette & carrot cakes or even grating sweet potato into cup cakes.

So go on, the promise of Spring is on the horizon and there are an abundance of fresh vegetables in Season… carrots, beetroots, celery, spinach, broccoli and asparagus to name a few. Its still a bit chilly, so why not make the most of warming soups as well as warm vegetable salads and quiches. Celery is a great addition to casseroles and carrot and coriander soup is always a great way to increase those beta carotenes.

For me though, spinach is definitely my favourite. Easy to grow at home in the garden or a greenhouse, spinach is high in vitamins K and C and potassium. Full of fiber and good for the muscles and heart, its great cold in a salad or sandwich and is great in soups, omelettes, curries or just on the side with some garlic.

Now I am also in my final trimester with my 2nd pregnancy it has made me think even more about the World my children will have if we keep eating the amount of meat we do each day. So I am personally going to spend March just on the vegetables. This is not a fad but a conscious effort to up my nutrition and experiment with new menu ideas - right time to weed the vegetable patch in the garden and get growing the salad for Summer!