Just another dietitian talking about vegetables

We all know that vegetables are good for us, so I'm sure that’s not news to anyone, but in light of National Nutrition week this week being all about how to try for five serves of veg each day by embracing your food ‘waste’ we thought it was a good opportunity to put veggies at the front of your mind.

Did you know that only 4% of Aussies eat the recommended serves of vegetables a day? That mean’s that 96% of us aren’t getting enough.

On another note, food waste makes up more than 1/3 of the average household bin. That’s nearly $4000 worth of food per household per year that can end up in landfill and this really does break our heart! Do you ever get to the end of the week and have a bunch of leftover vegetables that end up straight in the bin? Well, apparently, you’re not alone.

Why should we eat our vegetables?

Vegetables are packed full of important vitamins and minerals, antioxidants for fighting sickness and disease, and fibre for maintaining good gut health. You’ve probably heard the old saying ‘eat the rainbow’, which basically means choose a variety of different coloures vegetables. This is essential because different colours provide different nutrients:

RED - contains lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that can help reduce the risk of cancer and keep our heart healthy.

PURPLE /BLUE - contains anthocyanin, another antioxidant that protects cells from damage and can help reduce the risk of cancer, stroke and heart disease.

ORANGE/YELLOW - contains carotenoids, which converts to vitamin A, important for maintaining healthy mucous membranes and eyes.

GREEN - contains a range of phytochemicals including carotenoids, indoles and saponins, all of which have anti-cancer properties. Leafy greens such as spinach and broccoli are also excellent sources of folate.

BROWN/WHITE - contains a range of health-promoting phytochemicals such as allicin (found in garlic) which is known for its antiviral and antibacterial properties.

Most vegetables are also lower in energy (or calories), which means that they are supportive of your weight loss goals.

Yep, this means that ALL vegetables are SUPERFOODS!

How much do we need?

Our Australian Dietary Guidelines recommend around 5 serves a day. It's important to know that 5 serves of vegetables unfortunately does not mean 5 different vegetables per day.

What is a serve?

A serving size is:

  • ½ cup cooked green or orange vegetables
  • ½ medium potato
  • ½ cup canned beans, peas or lentils
  • ½ cup sweet corn
  • 1 tomato
  • 1 cup leafy salad

Tips to eat more vegetables

1) Include vegetables at BOTH lunch and dinner – A lot of us only tend to have vegetables at dinner. Try adding some grated carrot or lettuce to your sandwich at lunch.

2) SNACKS – have some ready-to-go vegetables as snacks. A good example is the classic celery and peanut butter or carrot and hommous.

3) Use your eggs – Eggs are so versatile, so why not make your vegetables into a quiche or zucchini slice? Great for breakfast, lunch OR dinner!

4) Make more soup – Soup is a great way to use up those vegetables that have seen better day. We always love making up a big batch on a Sunday to freeze, ready for a quick lunch or dinner.

5) Make your vegetables in to a sauce – trust me, adding left-over veg to a can of tomatoes, adding garlic and basil, is DELICIOUS, and another good one to freeze.

Need a little help to reach the 5 serves of vegetables per day? Or just wanting some motivation to make 5 serves the new normal? Our 50 for 5 program is built around filling your plate with 50% vegetables, to help you meet the 5 serves a day. We provide you with plenty of support, education and DELICIOUS recipes filled with all of our vegetable superfoods! Give it a go – we dare you! click the link for more information: https://bit.ly/2XWPdK2