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Here’s a fun game to play. Look back at what you ate yesterday, and tell me – how much fruit and veg did you manage to get into your day?
Here are some answers for you to choose from:
a) “Five serves of vegetables and two serves of fruit, of course. I am a superhuman that greatly values the nutrients that can be found in the goodness of clean food – particularly green, leafy vegetables.”
b) “Two serves. An apple at morning tea and a small side-salad with my dinner.”
c) “Do the little capsicum bits on my Crust pizza topping count?”
If you answered “a”, you don’t need me or this post. Go and eat your stir-fry while basking in the glow of all your health. (Are you Gwyneth Paltrow, by any chance?)
If you answered “b” or “c”, you might want to read on. Because this article is for those of you who haven’t quite managed to get a hold of that whole fruit-and-vegetable thing yet. And don’t worry – you’re really not alone. In Australia, a whopping 93% of us don’t eat enough veggies.
Believe it or not, we all need to be getting those five serves of vegetables and two serves of fruit. Every single day. And that’s not just to torture you – those numbers are based on evidence. If you eat enough fruit and veg, it can decrease your risk of developing obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and even certain types of cancer.
I spoke to two experts in the veggie field to troubleshoot every problem that you might come across in your veggie-eating journey. Here are your solutions.
“I don’t like vegetables”
I posed this problem to Kirsty Welsh, a health and wellness expert and personal trainer. Here's what she had to say:
"THERE ARE SO MANY VEGETABLES! How can you stand there and say you don't like them? That's a shitfight of a mindset.
You have to change your mentality. If you swear you don't like vegetables, you're probably just associating healthy food with stuff that doesn't have much flavour. You probably think healthy food has to be a piece of lettuce.
Guess what? It doesn't have to be. There are so many ways to groove up vegetables - you just have to try."
"I don't know how to include vegetables in my diet"
Amy Vero, Accredited Practicing Dietitian, offers the following suggestions:
"Try to incorporate some fruit and veg into every meal - that way, you gradually fill your daily quota throughout the day.
For breakfast, try adding fruit to your cereal or yogurt, or blending fruit for smoothies. For lunch, make homemade pizzas topped with plenty of vegetables, a vegetable soup or add salad to your sandwich. And for dinner, try and add as many vegetables to meals as you can. You can add carrot, cucumber, tomato and mushrooms to a spaghetti Bolognese. Or go for stir fries with plenty of vegetables."