Hands up if you eat the daily recommended amount of vegetables? If you answered ‘yes’ with all five fingers for the five recommended serves, you’d be among the very few who do. In Queensland, as many as 93 percent of Queensland adults are not eating the recommended servings of vegetables every day.
Each year in October National Nutrition raises awareness around the role of food on our health with the overarching theme of Try For 5 – a campaign developed by Nutrition Australia that encourages people to increase their daily vegetable consumption to the recommended intake of five serves.
Cancer Council CEO Ms. Chris McMillan said that at least one-third of all cancer cases are preventable through healthy lifestyle choices, including eating a healthy diet. “Fruit and vegetables are an essential part of a healthy balanced diet; they are high in nutrients such as fibre, vitamins, and minerals as well as antioxidants and phytochemicals,” she said. “Eating plenty of vegetables and fruits is likely to reduce the risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, stomach, and bowel.
Fruit and vegetables also play an important role in weight management and therefore cancer risk. “Maintaining a healthy lifestyle should be a top priority all year round – let’s Try For 5, not only during October but every day.” Here are five tips to get your five serves of veggies each day.
1. Embrace your waste.
If you’ve ever cut off parts of a veggie that you didn’t particularly like, you wouldn’t be alone. However, this National Nutritional Week, try using the whole vegetable in your meal to get as many nutrients as possible, try to use ageing vegetables rather than throwing them out, and purchase ‘ugly’ veggies where possible to help reduce wider social waste.
2. Sip a serve.
Swap store-bought fruit juice, which is often packed full of sugar and stripped of fibre, for a homemade juice made primarily from vegetables. Try carrot, celery, beetroot and ginger juice, or add kale and spinach to your morning smoothie.
3. Boost your breakfast.
Get your first serves in early by adding one or two vegetables to your breakfast. Spinach, onions, mushrooms and grated zucchini all make great additions to omelette’s and savoury muffins; they can also act as the perfect sautéed side dish for eggs on toast.
4. Sneak them into a snack.
You can give into the mid-morning munchies without feeling guilty by snacking on a serve of raw veggies like carrot or celery. Bring along a healthy dip of hummus or avocado and you’ll soon be looking forward to your daily snack.
5. Add extra to everything.
Think of your fifth and final serve of veggies as your extra boost to round out the day. By adding extra vegetables to all your meals, you can be certain that you’ve reached your daily intake. You can mix in extra to your stir-fries, slip them into your sandwiches, and stir more into your soups and sauces.
The theme is ‘embrace your waste’, encouraging Australians to help reduce food wastage by eating the whole vegetable, using ageing vegetables, and purchasing ‘ugly’ vegetables where possible. More information is available at www. nutritionaustralia.org More information about Cancer Council Queensland and healthy living is available at cancerqld.org.au.