To mark the UN International Year of Fruit and Vegetables 2021, Bord Bia is encouraging people to simply add one more fresh fruit or vegetable to any meal, and has partnered with dietitian Orla Walsh to provide simple tips for eating more fresh produce this summer.
Orla said, “A simple way to include more fresh produce in the diet is to think about what you often eat and simply add a vegetable or fruit to it. If everyone in Ireland were to ‘add one more’ locally grown fruit or vegetable into their daily diet, they would become healthier.
“A big driver for eating more in-season, local produce is that it is often the more sustainable choice. Taking on the ‘add one more’ challenge can also help people avoid food waste. Leftover vegetables in your fridge or from dinner are delicious in your morning omelette, or ideal for using in pasta sauces and stir-fries.”
Dietitian tips for eating more fresh produce
With the Irish growing season at its peak, Orla shares six simple ways people can ‘add one more’ in-season fruit or vegetable to their favourite meals throughout the day.
1. Add root veg to make rainbow chips
“Chop up root vegetables into chip shapes and add to potato chips. Including a rainbow of coloured vegetables can nutritionally and visually enhance your meal. Simply coat with healthy oil and sprinkle with your favourite herbs and spices for a super healthy everyday choice. They are delicious with eggs at breakfast, beans at lunch or to accompany your meat or fish at dinner. For a spice bag option, add in onions, peppers, and carrots as a tasty, healthy and filling dish.”
2. Add grated veg to mashed potato
“Mashed potato is a family favourite, with leftovers becoming potato cakes for breakfast or lunch on a regular basis. A simple way to add one more veg is to mash new season potatoes with par-cooked grated vegetables such as carrot, parsnip, onion, broccoli or turnip. For a sweet option, apple works well, especially if eating pork. Not only will this add flavour, it also subtly adds one more veg for a fussy eater!”
3. Add spinach or beetroot to make vibrant fruit smoothies
“A simple way to inject additional nutrients into your favourite fruit smoothie is to add a handful of fresh spinach leaves or a chunk of raw beetroot. A blend of strawberries, blueberries, banana, natural yoghurt and spinach or beetroot creates a vibrant green or pink smoothie, which is a firm favourite with the kids! Why not also add any uneaten veggies from last night’s dinner into your smoothie? Consider adding in some cauliflower for a lovely, creamy taste or carrot as a great sweetener.”
4. Add courgette, carrots or mushrooms to Bolognese
“Fresh mushrooms or courgette chopped up into small chunks. or grated carrots blend effortlessly into dishes like spaghetti Bolognese or burritos. Although not changing the texture too much, this will add plenty of additional nutrients to the meal. If you have leftover grated courgette or carrot, consider leaving it aside to add to your morning bowl of porridge or overnight oats!”
5. Add berries to mix up your side salad
“For many, fruit as part of their dinner, or vegetables with their breakfast is a novel thought. We have ingrained ideas around food that need to be challenged! Why not consider sliced apples added to pork dishes or berries in your side salad at dinner time. Or, try adding peppers to your fried eggs, onion and tomato to your omelette or spinach to your scrambled eggs at breakfast.”
6. Add green, white and orange veg to make a tricolour!
“Finally, what better way to show support for Irish athletes at the upcoming Olympics than to fuel up on a patriotic dinner? Add more veg to any meal by serving them in a tricolour of mashed green, white and orange vegetables either stacked or lined up like a flag on the dinner plate, which will make for a delicious, and patriotic, meal!
Vegetable sales on the rise
New market data shows an increase in the purchase of fresh produce in Ireland. Consumers increased their average annual spend on fresh vegetables by 7.5% from the previous year.
Lorcan Bourke, Sector Manager for Fresh Produce and Potatoes, Bord Bia said, “With 2021 being designated by the UN as the International Year of Fruit and Vegetables, it is heartening to see the latest market data showing that Irish consumers are continuing to purchase more fresh produce, with the record sales achieved during the pandemic being sustained into 2021.
“July marks peak growing season in Ireland and growers are working around the clock to deliver fresh fruit and vegetables to shops, often within 24 hours of produce being harvested. The ‘Best in Season’ campaign, which encourages people to choose locally grown, fresh, seasonal produce, is closely aligned to the UN’s objectives to highlight the important role of fresh produce in nutrition, food security and human health. We’re lucky to have over 50 types of fruit and vegetables grown in Ireland, giving us plenty of options to ‘add one more’ to meals this summer.”
What’s in season now?
Bord Bia’s annual ‘Best in Season’ campaign highlights the taste, texture and vibrancy of colour of seasonal fresh fruit and vegetables. There is an abundance of locally grown fruit and vegetables now in-season and available at supermarkets and shops nationwide.
Vegetables: Broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, courgette, cucumber, leeks, lettuce, mushrooms, onions, pak choi, parsnips, peppers, radish, rhubarb, scallions, swedes, tomatoes.
Fruit: Blueberries, blackcurrants, gooseberries, loganberries, raspberries, strawberries.
To find out more about what is currently in season, along with some inspiring recipe ideas, visit Bordbia.ie/bestinseason.