Do you eat the recommended 5 servings of veggies every day? Did you know that approximately 93% of adult Australians and 95% of Aussie kidsdon’t eat enough vegetables? Is this you?

National Nutrition Week (11 – 17 October)

This week is National Nutrition Week and all Australians are encouraged to eat more vegetables every day. We’re encouraged to not only look after own health by eating well, but also to help the planet’s wellbeing too.

As our cooking at home has increased due to the pandemic, we’re encouraged to try new recipes and incorporate more veggies into our day, whether it’s fresh, frozen, canned, dried or juiced!

The campaign is run by Nutrition Australia, and is titled “Try for 5”. It’s encouraging all Australians to try and incorporate 5 servings of  vegetables per day into their meals and snacks, by making some small changes to their diet in order to receive big gains.

Why such a focus on vegetables?

Vegetables are full of vitamins and minerals and can help improve our health and wellbeing. This includes keeping our weight in check, as well as helping to keep our blood pressure and cholesterol low.

Eating vegetables also helps our bodies fight chronic disease, such as heart disease and stroke, cancer and type 2 diabetes.

Veggies furthermore helps us to stay fuller for longer and eating them regularly, helps to keep our gut healthy through the fibre we receive from these healthy foods.

Did you know however, that a healthy diet also has benefits for our mental health?

Research has found links between consuming a poor diet and poor mental health, with individuals who consume poor nutrient foods at a greater risk of developing depression and anxiety.

What can you do to incorporate more veggies into your day?

Eating more vegetables is one of the easiest things we can all do for better health and wellbeing. Some ideas include:

  • trying a new vegetable every day
  • cooking a new recipe that is filled with different coloured vegetables
  • adding vegetables to your breakfast – add them to your scrambled eggs or create a veggie omelette
  • adding a salad with your lunch and dinner
  • making savoury scones or muffins filled with veggies
  • drinking a green smoothie
  • cutting some chopped vegetables that you could snack on throughout the day when feeling peckish

Think about what you could do today to incorporate more veggies into your day, and put it into practice.

What about the planet’s wellbeing?

We can protect our planet by focusing on the amount of food waste we create, and to try and reduce it as much as possible.

We can reduce food waste by not only using the vegetable skins, but also eating ageing vegetables in different ways. For example, add them to soups, frittatas, smoothies and/or savoury muffins.

It’s important to also learn to prepare and store our vegetables in the correct way so they last longer. This way we’re not only saving our money, but also helping our environment – it doesn’t end up in landfill.

For some ideas on how to add more vegetables into your meals that are waste-free, take a look at www.tryfor5.org.au/ and click on the tab ‘Fight Veg Waste’.

A healthier you is achievable

Like with any behaviour change you make, it takes time and effort. Even aiming to increase your awareness of how many vegetables you’re eating and when you’re eating them, if at all, is a great start.

Take regular and small steps every day towards your goal (eating more veggies), and in good time you will achieve what you desire – a healthier you!

If you want some further information, including how to cook vegetables for their maximum nutrition and some healthy ‘food waste recipes’, visit www.tryfor5.org.au/. #NNW2020

Until next time, wishing you all great health and wellbeing!

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REFERENCES:

1. Australia’s Health 2018, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/australias-health/australias-health-2018/contents/indicators-of-australias-health/fruit-and-vegetable-intake

2. Food and Mood Centre. Diet and mental health. https://foodandmoodcentre.com.au/diet-and-mental-health/

3. Nutrition Australia. https://nutritionaustralia.org/