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Back to basics – Vegetable intake

vegetable intake of 5 serves a day, dietitian and nutritionist at Coast Sport on the Central Coast Tuggerah
Did you know that data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics 2014-2015 National Health Survey revealed that 9 in 10 Australian adults did not eat the recommended 5 serves of vegetables per day?!
Vegetables are one of the 5 core food groups and regular consumption has been strongly linked to the prevention of chronic disease such as heart disease, stroke and certain types of cancer. Vegetables are highly versatile foods that are great sources of fibre, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. As they are high in nutrients and low in energy they are great to bulk meals up with and are beneficial to either losing or maintaining weight while keeping you full.

So what is a serve?
The picture to the right, thanks to “Healthy Together Mildura” is a great visual for what a serve of veggies is. To reach your targets it’s ideal to think about the types of vegetables you like and how you can fit them across your day, as if you wait to have all serves at dinner you are very unlikely to reach your target, a sample meal plan on how to achieve this can be seen at the end of this blog.
A few tips for increasing your vegetable intake include:

Add to your breakfast: blend spinach through your smoothies, add mushrooms, tomato and/or spinach to an omelette, baked beans on toast on a layer of greens.
Snack on: carrot, cucumber and/or capsicum sticks with a veggie containing dip such as hommus or baba ganoush (aim for a dip that has >50% vegetable content)
Always add some to your lunch: This can be as simple as adding some lettuce and tomato to your sandwiches or having some left overs from previous dinners.
Hide them: Grate carrot and zucchini into any mince dishes. Try adding legumes such as lentils too! For the fussy eaters try blending legumes into pasta sauce or soup stock so you can’t even tell they are there.

As 9 in 10 people don't eat enough veggies on a daily basis, before we start looking into the latest “fad” diets, supplements or what the celebrities are doing we should go back to the basics and build from there. For most if you aren’t meeting your vegetable intake, the chances are you are over consuming more energy dense and/or nutrient poor foods.

For personalised information to help you reach your goals call 4356 2588 now or book online via the button below to see one of our Accredited Practising Dietitians (APD).

Book an appointment online!

Sample day: What can 5 serves look like?

2 slices wholemeal toast
¼ avocado
½ cup baby spinach leaves
2 eggs

Morning Tea
1 small skim flat white
1 medium apple

60g chicken breast
1 cup stir fried veggies
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Small splash of soy sauce
¾ cup basmati rice

Afternoon Tea
1 medium carrot
2 tbsp hommus (>50% chickpea content)

100g baked salmon fillet
½ cup baked sweet potato pieces
½ cup baked beetroot pieces
½ cup steamed broccoli

140g low fat yoghurt

Thanks to Coast Sport Dietitian Ali for preparing this blog. You can find out more about Ali here.
1. https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/biomedical-risk-factors/risk-factors-to-health/contents/nutrition
2. https://www.eatforhealth.gov.au