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5 ways to Eat More Fruit and Vegetables

It is no secret that we should be eating more fruit and vegetables; at least five serves of vegetables and two serves of fruit, each day. Only 50% and 7% of Australians meet these respective recommendations.    A healthy diet rich in a variety of fruit and vegetables helps you maintain a healthy weight, lowers your cholesterol and blood pressure as well as reduces your risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and some cancers. A recent study has also revealed a strong link between eating more fruit and vegetables and happiness.

So here are our top 5 ways to eat more fruit and vegetables.

How to eat more fruit and veg

1. Make them convenient

It is not surprising that when we get hungry, we reach for food which doesn’t take time to prepare and cook. Making fruit and vegetables the most convenient snack in the house will increase their appeal and consumption.

This can be achieved by;

  • Keeping pre-cut and washed vegetables in the fridge for lunch-box additions and snacks, such as capsicum, carrots, celery, cucumbers and snap peas
  • Keeping a bowl of pre-washed fruit in a central location in the house (kitchen bench or dining table), such as bananas, apples and pears, kiwi and oranges.

2. Don’t forget breakfast

Including fruit and vegetables in your breakfast every day will give you a head start to achieve the recommendations mentioned above.  Alternating the types of fruit and vegetables you use will also make breakfast a lot more interesting.

Some examples include;

  • Adding fresh fruit to your porridge, muesli, Weetbix or other breakfast cereal
  • Bulking up an omelette with a variety of vegetables, such as tomatoes, onion, capsicums, spinach and pumpkin
  • Making a smoothie with low-fat Greek yoghurt or milk, fruit and spinach

3. Make fruit your dessert

Healthy eating doesn’t mean you must skip dessert entirely. Replacing heavier desserts (cake, sweets) with a lighter fruit-based dessert will keep your sweet-tooth satisfied.

Some examples include;

  • Adding fresh, frozen or stewed fruit to low-fat Greek yoghurt topped with cinnamon and chopped nuts
  • Blending frozen bananas with other frozen fruits and a dollop of peanut butter to make an ‘ice-cream’
  • Melting dark chocolate and dipping it onto half of fresh fruit pieces, such as strawberries, kiwi or banana

4. Have a meatless day once a week

When following a plant-based diet, legumes (e.g. beans, lentils, chickpeas) are a great substitute for meat and an ideal base to a vegetarian dish. Making this swap at least once a week will do wonders for your vegetable intake.

Some examples include;

  • Substituting beef mince with chopped up mushrooms and lentils in lasagnes and tacos
  • Substituting meat for beans and lentils in soups and casseroles
  • Substituting meat with lentil or chickpea-based patties when making burgers.

 5. Get creative in the kitchen

There are endless ways to sneak fruit and vegetables into meals and snacks which don’t ordinarily contain them. When preparing recipes at home, think carefully about using up the fruit and vegetables you have in your kitchen.

Some examples include;

  • Adding extra vegetables to pasta sauce, such as carrots, mushrooms and onions
  • Adding roast vegetables, such as eggplant, capsicum and pumpkin, and using lettuce instead of bread as the bun when making burgers
  • Adding vegetables to baked items, such as making zucchini bread or carrot muffins

Written by Genna Vlitas, Student Dietitian

References

  1. National Health Survey: First Results, 2014-15 – Daily intake of fruit and vegetables. Canberra: ABS; 2015.
  2. Better Health. Fruit and vegetables. Victoria: Better Health; Date unknown.
  3. Wang et al. Systematic review and meta-analysis of the relationship between fruit and vegetable consumption and risk of all cause, cardiovascular, and cancer mortality. BMJ. 2014 July; 349:4490.
  4. Li M et al. Fruit and vegetable intake and risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus: meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. BMJ Open. 2014 Nov;4(11):5497.
  5. Cancer Council. Position statement:fruit, vegetables and cancer prevention. Canberra: Cancer Council; Date unknown. Available from; https://wiki.cancer.org.au/policy/Position_statement_-_Fruit,_vegetables_and_cancer_prevention
  6. Mujcic R. Are fruit and vegetables good for our mental and physical health? Panel data evidence from Australia. Brisbane: University of Queensland; 2014. Available from; https://ideas.repec.org/p/pra/mprapa/59149.html#biblio

 

2018-04-09T08:56:35+00:00
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