National Nutrition Week: 10 – 16 October, 2021

Try for 5

National Nutrition Week is Nutrition Australia’s annual healthy eating awareness campaign. Australian Health Survey data has found less than 4 per cent of us eat the recommended daily serves of vegetables each day(1). Children under 18 are also less likely to meet their daily vegetable intake recommendations.

Why eat vegetables?

Veggies are full of nutrients and are relatively low in calories.  A diet high in vegetables has been associated with a reduced risk of coronary heart disease and stroke(2). There is also research that suggests eating vegetables is associated with a reduced risk of weight gain and reduced risk of certain cancers, including prostate, colorectal and lung(2).  Did you know legumes and lentils are also considered a serve of vegetables?  This is because they contain similar nutrients, but have the added benefit of proving protein.

What does a serve look like?

Eating five serves of vegetables a day can have many health and wellbeing benefits. Australian Healthy Food Guide (2019).

A serve of vegetables can be measuring using standard metric cups or by weight(3). This National Nutrition Week, aim for 5 serves of veggies each day.

  • ½ cup cooked vegetables
  • 1 cup of salad vegetables
  • ½ medium potato, sweet potato
  • ½ cup sweet corn, 1 medium corn cob
  • ½ cup cooked beans/lentils

How to include more vegetables

  • Try to include at least one veggie with each meal and snack (this can include breakfast!) rather than leaving it to your last meal of the day.
  • Add dried/fresh herbs and spices to give them a little extra flavour.
  • Be organised – chop up vegetables straight away when you have done your grocery shopping. This can save time during the week when getting lunches or dinner ready.
  • Frozen vegetables are just as good for us as fresh.
  • Shop in season to ensure the best quality, flavour and cheaper prices. 

Snack ideas

  • Raw veggie sticks (carrots, capsicum, green beans, cucumber, celery, snow/sugar snap peas, tomatoes, mushrooms).
  • Homemade veggie dip (beetroot, tzatziki, hummus, tomato salsa).
  • Fresh salads (try adding some nuts, seeds, lentils/legumes or even fruit, for variety).
  • Experiment with cooking: roasting, grilling, steaming, boiling, mashed, etc. You may prefer some vegetables cooked in different ways.
  • Enjoy many different vegetable soups during the cooler months
  • Add vegetables to baked dishes such as slices, muffins and quiches.

 Websites for recipe inspiration

  1. Try for 5 - https://www.tryfor5.org.au/recipeshome

  2. No money, no time - https://nomoneynotime.com.au/healthy-easy-recipes

  3. Australian Healthy Food Guide - https://www.healthyfoodguide.com.au/

  4. Nutrition Australia - http://www.nutritionaustralia.org/national/recipes

Connect Health & Community's Diet and Nutrition services are available for phone and video consultations during lockdown.  Our nutritionists can help you understand and manage your health and wellbeing through your diet intake.

For more information or to make an appointment, call us on 03) 9575 5333 or visit the Diet and Nutrition page on our website.

 References:

  1. Australian Bureau of Statistics. 2018. Vegetables and Legumes/Beans. Retrieved 06/09/2019 https://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/by%20Subject/4364.0.55.012~2011-12~Main%20Features~Vegetables,%20legumes%20and%20beans~10
  2. National Health and Medical Research Council. 2013. Australian Dietary Guidelines; Guideline 2 – Enjoy a wide variety of nutritious foods.
  3. National Health and Medical Research Council. 2013. Australian Dietary Guidelines; Table 2.6: Standard serve size equivalents for vegetables, legumes/beans and fruit.

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