Probably the Best Vegetable you can Eat

I really don't like it when people ask me what the “one thing” is that they should do to improve their diet. Generally, you can’t make your entire diet healthy by c hanging just one thing. However, when pushed, my go to response is pretty simple: “Eat More Vegetables”!


I’m a huge fan of increasing fruit and veg consumption amongst my clients and for good reason. Higher intakes of fruit and vegetables are consistently associated with lower levels of serious disease such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer. In fact, eating more fruit and vegetables (between 5-7 portions/day) reduces your risk of dying from just about anything* {1-4}.


*In fairness, it probably won’t reduce your risk of being hit by a bus or falling out of an airplane or getting killed in  a war… but nothing’s perfect, right?


I’m happy to tell my clients to eat as many non-starchy vegetables as they want because there seems to be a dose response relationship with vegetables and their health benefits meaning the more you eat, the better (to a certain point) {5}. Not only that, bur recommending higher fruit and veg consumption has been shown to not increase weight gain and may actually aid weight maintenance or even weight loss {6}.    


Vegetables Rock

So basically, eating more vegetables is the bizniz when it comes to an easy way to improve your diet and subsequently your health.


The only issue is that, if you’re not used to preparing, cooking or eating a lot vegetables, adding more to your diet can seem a little intimidating. Where to start? What vegetables should I eat?


It’s general consensus that the more variety of veg you eat, the better so you should try to “eat the rainbow” when it comes to different colored vegetables when starting out, that might not be possible for all. Instead, I have a very specific way of quickly and easily increasing your veg intake and it involves just one vegetable.


Eat More Spinach

In my opinion there is no easier way to increase your vegetable intake than to start eating more spinach. Here are a few reasons as to why?

  • Incredibly high nutrient density: meaning you get an enormous amount of nutrients for very few calories (learn more about nutrient density here)
  • Virtually no preparation: as you can usually buy spinach washed and ready to eat or cook in most supermarkets
  • Unnoticeable in other dishes: when cooked, spinach wilts down to virtually nothing and adds almost no adverse flavor to the dish meaning you can easily throw it into soups, stews and sauces
  • Easy to add to diet: you can quickly throw a few handfuls of spinach into bowl with a little dressing to make an easy salad or add them to smoothies and even omelets to make them instantly more nutritious


Convenience is Key

Spinach has been one of my favorite vegetables for years because it is so convenient and so healthy. There may be other vegetables that are more nutrient dense (kale for example) but none of them can compare to the convenience of spinach. Being convenient means it’s easy to add to your diet and when it’s easy, it’s much more likely to become consistent.


I like to eat food that tastes good (weird right?) and the great thing about spinach is that I can add it to so many cooked dishes without changing the flavor. Here are a few ideas for you to try.


  • If I need to eat but I’m in a rush I’ll just throw a couple of handfuls of spinach into a pot of ready-made vegetable soup along with whatever protein I want and it’s ready to eat in a few minutes
  • If I’m feeling really lazy at the end of the day, I’ll just throw some spinach into a bowl with some nice dressing and enjoy a very lazy but incredibly healthy salad.
  • If you have smoothies regularly you can easily add an extra nutrient boost by adding some fresh spinach
  • Add it to omelets. Wilt a large bowl of spinach in the microwave for 1 minute (to remove the excess moisture so you don’t ruin the consistency of the omelet) and mix it into the eggs with the seasoning before cooking
  • Mix it into sauces. You can easily mix some spinach into pizza sauce, curries, soups and even stew while cooking and it wilts down to nothing
  • Try it in proats. On days when I’m very lazy or really stuck for time, I will mix some spinach into my protein oats (it works well with chocolate flavored protein powders) to get some extra veg into my daily allowance


Just Fill your Fridge with Spinach

If you’re a vegetable newbie just buy a large bag of spinach, stick it in your fridge and try out a few of the ideas above. You’ll quickly realize how easy it is to add spinach to your diet and hopefully it’ll encourage you to be a little more adventurous and try adding more veg to your daily diet.


Eat Well, folks


  1. Nguyen B, Bauman A, Gale J, Banks E, Kritharides L, Ding D. Fruit and vegetable consumption and all-cause mortality: evidence from a large Australian cohort study. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2016;13(1):9.
  2. Oyebode O, Gordon-Dseagu V, Walker a., Mindell JS. Fruit and vegetable consumption and all-cause, cancer and CVD mortality: analysis of Health Survey for England data. J Epidemiol Community Heal. 2014;1–7.
  3. Leenders M, Boshuizen HC, Ferrari P, Siersema PD, Overvad K, Tjønneland A, et al. Fruit and vegetable intake and cause-specific mortality in the EPIC study. Eur J Epidemiol. 2014;29(9):639–52.
  4. Carter P, Gray LJ, Troughton J, Khunti K, Davies MJ. Fruit and vegetable intake and incidence of type 2 diabetes mellitus: systematic review and meta-analysis. Br Med J. 2010;341(7772):c4229.
  5. Bellavia A, Larsson SC, Bottai M, Wolk A, Orsini N. Fruit and vegetable consumption and all-cause mortality: A doseresponse analysis. Am J Clin Nutr. 2013;98(2):454–9.
  6. Mytton OT, Nnoaham K, Eyles H, Scarborough P, Ni Mhurchu C. Systematic review and meta-analysis of the effect of increased vegetable and fruit consumption on body weight and energy intake. BMC Public Health. 2014;14(1):886. 

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