Busting that vegetable myth: 4 easy tips on how to veg up your lifestyle!

Did you know that adults require 5-6 serves of vegetables per day to reduce the risk of disease?(1)

Currently, only 6.8% of Australian adults are meeting this daily recommendation with a staggering 1.6% of males between the ages of 18-30 years consuming the recommended serve for vegetables.(2) The boys need to up their vegetable game!

So what are people eating if not vegetables? A reported 35% of the average adult’s daily diet was made up of junk foods with alcohol being the highest contributor.(2)

So why should we eat vegetables? Eating more vegetables reduces the risk of an individual developing; overweight and obesity, type 2 Diabetes, cardiovascular disease, some cancers, musculoskeletal disorders eg. Osteoporosis, chronic kidney disease, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and dental decay.(1) Ouch, none of that sounds very nice!

I know what you’re thinking, I don’t want these diseases! So how do I sneakily add vegetables into my lifestyle?

Well it’s easier than you think! Let’s start with what a ‘serve’ of vegetables actually looks like so you know what you’re aiming for.

Taken from: https://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/food-essentials/how-much-do-we-need-each-day/serve-sizes

 

Not so scary right? It’s not actually as much as you think. It’s recommended to try and have some type of vegetables in two meals of your day so veg up your lunch this week and have a little extra veg on the side with dinner or even sneak it into the meal chopped up small so no one notices.

Four super easy ways to add vegetables into your lifestyle

  1. Canned and frozen veg count (as long as no sugar or salt is added) and is just as good as fresh vegetables. Of course fresh is best, but if all you have lying around the house is frozen or canned, go for it! I always keep those small vegetable steam bags in the freezer for when I can’t be bothered to cut up and cook/bake any veg with my dinner. Hot tip: each steam bag has two serves of veg and only takes 2.5 mins in the microwave!
  2. Chop, blend or grate your vegetables up very small if you’re not a vegetable lover and add it into your meals. It will be almost invisible! Suggestions: carrot and zucchini grated into home made hamburger patties, small chopped up veg in soups, curries, stews or stir-fries.
  3. Cook up a big batch of vegetables once a week or once every couple of weeks and freeze them in small bags ready to defrost when needed.
  4. Add roast vegetables into your lunch in your wraps, salads or sandwiches. Pumpkin is great for this.
  5. Experiment with your favourite recipes; add in your favourite veg for something different. You’ll be surprised how you can’t taste carrot, onion or sweet potato in your pumpkin soup if it’s blended well or how you won’t notice those extra vegetables in your usual curry or stew if they’re chopped up finely.

References:

  1. National Health and Medical Research Council. (2013). Eat for Health Educators Guide. Retrieved from: https://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/sites/default/files/files/the_guidelines/n55b_educator_guide_140321.pdf
  2. Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2015). National Health Survey: First Results, 2014-15 (No. 4364.0.55.001). Retrieved from: http://www.abs.gov.au