Eating a diet that’s full of fresh, colourful
fruits and vegetables is the best way to make sure that your body has all the
nutrients it needs to stay healthy and well. According to The Australian
Dietary Guidelines, adults and children over the age of eight should be eating
at least five servings of vegetables a day - but what does a serving actually
look like? Usually, it’s about 75 grams, but it can depend on the vegetable.
Here are some examples:
Half a cup of sweet corn
1 cup of leafy greens or raw salad
Half of a medium potato or sweet
1 medium tomato
Half a cup of cooked broccoli,
spinach, carrot, or pumpkin
That might sound well and good, but fitting in
five vegetable serves over the course of the day can be challenging for some people
- particularly those who don’t enjoy the taste or texture of vegetables.
Here are a few tips and tricks for squeezing
in your five a day:
with a salad
Starting your lunch or dinner (or both) with a
small salad is a great way to increase your overall vegetable consumption. A
bit like exercising in the early morning, it’s a good way to ‘get it out of the
way’ and move on to more enjoyable parts of the meal. If you struggle with
portion control, it can also help you to full fuller before you get to your
main meal, so you’re less likely to overeat.
on fresh vegetables
Many people struggle with the taste, texture
or smell of cooked vegetables, and prefer the crunch and freshness of fresh
veggies. Snacking on raw vegetables is healthy and delicious, and often very
straightforward to prepare. Spend some time chopping carrot, celery, and
cucumber into sticks or rounds and eat them straight, or pair them with a
healthy dip for added flavour.
Eating vegetables doesn’t have to be boring -
consider it an opportunity to get creative in the kitchen! There are lots of
ways you can incorporate vegetables into recipes without affecting the flavour
- or even know that they’re there. You can mix them into sweet dishes, for
example chocolate and beetroot muffins or zucchini chocolate cake. You can even sneak
them in at breakfast by blending them into a fruit smoothie or adding some
pumpkin puree or grated carrot into hot porridge. When making recipes that use
noodles or pasta, try adding in some spiralized zucchini, carrot or pumpkin
noodles - often they can hardly be detected, especially when you add a sauce.
some new recipes
Some people say that they don’t like a
particular vegetable when they’ve only experienced it in a certain way. For
example, Brussels sprouts that have been boiled can be slimy and tasteless, but
bake them with some coconut oil and a bit of salt and they are delicious.
Experiment with different seasonings and methods of cooking to find a way you
like. Instead of sautéeing or boiling, why
not try grilling or steaming to retain a bit of crunch and flavour, provided
they’re not overcooked. Similarly, baking vegetables can add some crispiness
and help to bring out the natural sweetness of many vegetables. If you’re not
sure where to start, have a look through some cookbooks or browse recipes on
For some people, not eating vegetables simply
comes down to convenience: they don’t have the time to spend shopping, chopping
and preparing vegetables. When it comes to convenience, frozen veggies are hard
to beat. They’re easy to grab from the freezer section of the supermarket,
they’re pre-chopped, which can save lots of time in the kitchen, and they still
have plenty of nutrients - sometimes even more than fresh produce.
With a few simple swaps and just a touch of
creativity, you’ll be reaching your five-a-day in no time.