What do Australians need to eat more of?

 

Research has shown that the vast majority of Australians need to eat more vegetables!  Why vegetables you ask?  Below you will find the answers to why, what and how, in addition to some practical tips!

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Why eat more vegetables?

Vegetables are nutritious as they provide a good source of vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C, magnesium and folate, which are important for good health.  Vegetables also contain fibre which has many health benefits such as regular digestive function.  Research also shows a relationship between consumption of vegetables and a lower risk of chronic diseases, such as Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) and some cancers.

Which vegetables are best?

The best way to get a range of nutrients is to have a range of vegetables of different colours and types.  Dark green and cruciferous vegetables (e.g. broccoli) are known for their folate content.  You may be surprised to know that capsicum, broccoli, cauliflower and brussel sprouts all contain more vitamin C than oranges (when comparing raw produce and equal weights of each).

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With regards to preparation, vegetables can be raw, steamed, blanched, boiled, microwaved, stir-fried or roasted.  Where possible, limit length of boiling as it can cause a loss of some vitamins into the liquid.

How much should you eat?

Research has shown that the vast majority of Australians need to eat more (non-starchy) vegetables.  Should you be interested in the dietary recommendations regarding number of serves, further information can be found at the Australian Dietary Guidelines.

A more general approach is to try and increase your current vegetable intake.  Give the below tips a try!

Tips for how to eat more vegetables

  • Select meals that inherently contain lots of vegetables e.g. stir-fries, salads
  • Make extra vegetables/salad at dinner and enjoy as part of lunch the next day
  • Try to include vegetables at meals where perhaps you usually wouldn’t e.g. salads at lunch
  • When having meals that contain no/minimal vegetables, try the following: get creative and add more vegetables to the recipe (e.g. red capsicum and mushrooms in bolognese, and zucchini mixed in with pasta), or fill part of your plate with vegetables instead
  • To save time preparing vegetables, try using frozen vegetables (as the nutrients are retained when frozen)
  • Soup!  Soup packed with vegetables is a great way to include more vegetables in your diet
  • Have vegetables that you enjoy readily available as snacks

You could also try planning your food in advance (a rough plan or detailed, whichever works for you).  The advantages of planning your groceries and meals is that you will have vegetables available from which to create your nutritious meals and snacks.  How delicious does the below look?

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Research links: