We know vegetables are good for us, but many of us don’t eat enough, with most Australians only eating around half the recommended amount of vegetables each day. This may be due to a lack of time, or being unsure how to incorporate them into meals and snacks. So why should you include more vegetables and plant-based foods, and how do you go about doing so?
Vegetables (including legumes/beans) are rich in essential nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, fibre, and antioxidants. By eating vegetables, you can reduce your risk of stroke, cardiovascular disease and cancer. It is important to consume a wide variety of different coloured vegetables, since they all provide different vitamins, which help protect our bodies in different ways. Vegetables also help to keep you feeling fuller for longer, since they contain dietary fibre.
Tips for incorporating more vegetables in your diet:
- Start gradually, begin by incorporating an extra serving of vegetables into your meals each day i.e. add some grated vegetables or tinned lentils to mince dishes
- Aim to include one vegetarian meal each week i.e. Mexican bean mix with nachos
- Frozen vegetables can be an easy way to keep nutritious options on hand for busy evenings (keep in mind that some canned vegetables have added salt, so aim to choose ‘no added salt’ varieties)
- Try adding grated vegetables into baked goods i.e. zucchini in muffins
- Don’t wait to eat all your vegetables at dinner, try to include some earlier in the day i.e. raw vegetable sticks with hummus as a snack, or wilted spinach and tomato with an omelette at breakfast
- Toss a 3 bean mix through a salad with some chicken or egg
- Experiment with how you prepare vegetables. Roasting, steaming, grilling, sautéing or eating vegetables raw all offer unique tastes and textures
There are some great meal and snack ideas to incorporate more vegetables on the https://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/eating-well/healthy-recipes website. If you need more individualised advice, please get in touch to make an appointment.