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The best ways to eat your greens

Sarah Wilson is a NYT best-selling author, tv host and blogger whose journalism career has spanned 20 years across TV, radio, magazines, newspapers and online.

We all know that eating a wide variety of vegetables is vital for good health, but did you know that filling up on such dense nutrition helps you stave off cravings and make better food choices? Did you know that you should always eat your vegetables along with fat? You may be missing out on vital nutrition if you don't.

mother and daughter in the kitchen with vegetables

Photo credit: Thinkstock Images/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Many of the important vitamins in vegetables (A, E, K and D) are fat-soluble only. So add some avocado to your salads and olive oil or butter to your veggies just like your grandmother used to. You're not absorbing the maximum nutrients if you don't.

Here are some clever ways to sneak more veggies into your family meals.

Add a large handful of spinach
to berry smoothies

The berries will mask the color and flavor of the spinach.

Make a batch of green guacamole

Serve it with tacos or chicken. Use 1 avocado, a good squeeze of lemon and 1/2 of a finely diced tomato. Season with salt and pepper. Add some toasted tortillas to serve.

Camouflage with purees

Puree peas, pumpkin and carrot until they're smooth and fold the puree through mashed potatoes for a lighter version of a household favorite.

Add bulk with broccoli

Add chopped broccoli florets (lightly steamed) to the base of bacon-and-egg cupcakes for some texture and green goodness.

Try coco-nutty cabbage

Wilt green cabbage down in a pan with coconut oil. Stir through 1/4 cup of desiccated coconut until it's lightly toasted. The sweetness and crunchy texture will mask the cabbage flavor.

Layer spinach in lasagna

Wilt down 3 cups of spinach in butter or coconut oil and layer the spinach between sheets of pasta in a lasagna.

Make bacon Brussels sprouts

Roast 1 rasher of bacon, chopped, in a pan with 1 cup of Brussels sprouts, cut into quarters, or 1 cup of cabbage, cut into 3-centimeter-thick wedges. Cook them in the oven at 400 degrees F for 30 minutes, stirring a few times. Serve with a splash of apple cider vinegar.

Make a large batch of pesto and freeze it in smaller servings

This is a great time-saver and an easy way to inject healthy flavor into any meal. Simply make your pesto of choice and freeze it in ice trays. Pop out a few cubes and stir through pasta or quinoa.

Make green spaghetti

Use a regular peeler or a fancy ribboning tool to peel zucchinis to resemble spaghetti. Stir through a low-sugar pasta sauce or pesto with a dollop of ricotta cheese on top.

Mum's the word: Let the cat out of the bag!

Once your kids have tried a recipe with hidden veggies a few times, let them know! Explain that the reason it tastes so good is that the carrots made it sweet or the beetroot added color.

Bonus! The best way to cook greens

Steaming is my preferred method. Always serve steamed veggies with some olive, coconut or macadamia oil or a generous knob of butter. A double steamer works best. Otherwise, use a bamboo steamer atop a saucepan or a mesh steamer placed in a saucepan. Layer the vegetables, placing the longest-to-cook (and the ones with the longest stalks) at the bottom first, then adding those that only need a quick heat-through (mainly leaf vegetables) on top. Any vegetables that need to be boiled (such as frozen peas) can be done underneath (in the saucepan of water) at the same time.

For more tips and recipes from Sarah Wilson, check out I Quit Sugar.

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