So, what is a serve and how many should we aim for each day?
A serve of veg is around 75g, for example:
*For pregnant and lactating women visit Eat for Health website for more information on the number of serves to aim for each day.
For children, the foundations for long-term eating habits and their overall relationship with foods are laid down during early childhood. That’s why it’s important to continue to expose children and young people to different types of foods, including vegetables during childhood.
Vegies contain important nutrients such as fibre, vitamins and minerals as well as protective compounds which are all important in helping to support our health and wellbeing.
So how can we add more veg every day?
We’ve got six simple tips to help add vegies to the day!
1. Get a head start -add vegies to breakfast
- Having baked beans on toast is a great start
- add some greens as well, simply heat up some English spinach with the beans
- Eggs three ways
- Eggs on toast are delicious with sautéed spinach and mushroom on the side
- A breakfast wrap is an easy way to add vegies to eggs – try our breakfast burrito loaded with spinach
- Omelettes are a household favourite and gives children the opportunity to choose their own fillings. It is a great way to get them involved in the cooking process.
- Top Tip: have your fillings cut up and ready to go i.e capsicum, mushrooms, tomatoes and spinach. If you have leftovers place them in reusable containers and refrigerate for omelettes again later in the week.
- More of an on-the-go smoothie type of breakfast person?
- Add some spinach or zucchini to your smoothies. We know it’s controversial adding raw veg, but if you are looking for a recipe try our Banana-Weetbix smoothie. It really is delicious!
2. Serve Veg with dip
Research shows that serving vegetable sticks with a dip, such as hummus or pesto, can help to increase children’s consumption of vegetables. We’d like to think it will also help increase veg consumption in adults too!
3. Make the plate colourful
Eating different coloured vegetables (and fruit) will help to ensure you are eating a variety of vitamins and nutrients to help support immune health and reduce our risk of chronic disease. The pigment in vegetables and fruit which give them their colour are linked to health benefits including:
- beta-carotene which gives vegetables and fruits their orange colour found in carrots is linked to reducing risk of type two diabetes
- pranthocyanidins and proanthocyanins which give vegetables and fruits their red, purple, blue and brown colours found in eggplants is linked with reducing blood pressure.
- Top Tip: aim to have half your plate filled with colourful veg!
4. Loving your Leftovers
You don’t need to try and re-invent the wheel every day to meet the recommended number of serves for you or your kids. Using last night’s dinner for today’s lunch is an easy way to increase vegies in your day whilst saving money and time.
- Top Tip: cook in bulk
- cook extra roast vegetables and add to salads for lunch
- cook a larger batch of chilli con carne, lasagne or bolognaise (recipes that freeze well) this will save money and time!
5. Grow your own!
We’ll admit growing your own vegetables requires a bit of effort and patience, but the result is phenomenal, and the sense of accomplishment is hard to beat! Getting kids involved is also another way to introduce and familiarise children to different types of vegetables.
6. Shop in season
You have heard it before but shopping in season really is one of the best ways to ensure you are eating vegetables which are bursting full of flavour and can help save you money.
So how can adding vegetables and legumes save you at the checkout:
Making a mince dish swap out around half the beef mince for 1 can brown lentils and save.