Why eat your vegetables?
With a wonderful variety of Spring produce coming back into season, it’s a great time to remind ourselves about the importance of eating our veggies and why we should include a variety of vegetables in our diet!
Eat your veggies for your health!Why eat veggies? Vegetables are a great source of vitamins, minerals, dietary fibre and phytonutrients. They are also nutrient-dense and low in energy (kilojoules). High vegetable consumption has also been found to help to reduce an individual’s risk of weight gain and chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke and some types of cancers.
In addition to physical activity, ensuring adequate vegetable consumption is crucial in the development of children and adolescents, and assists older age groups to maintain a healthy weight.
Eat a variety of vegetables to get a range of vitamins and nutrientsEvery vegetable offers different nutritional benefits. Therefore, we need to select vegetables that come in different colours and belong to a range of vegetable groups. Different types or groups of vegetables include root vegetables, leafy greens, legumes, allium, cruciferous, marrow and edible plant stem.
According to Healthline, some of the most nutritious vegetables include:
- Spinach – high in vitamin A, vitamin K and antioxidants.
- Carrots – high in vitamin A, beta-carotene, vitamin C, vitamin K and potassium.
- Broccoli – high in vitamin K, vitamin C, folate, manganese and potassium.
- Brussels Sprouts – high in antioxidants, vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin A, folate, manganese and potassium.
- Kale – high in B vitamins, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, potassium, calcium and copper.
Eat sufficient servings of veg in line with the Aussie recommended daily intake!
According to the 2013-14 New Zealand Health Survey, more than half of NZ adults consumed the recommended serves of vegetables. However, did you know that but less than half of all adults ate the recommended serves of both fruit and vegetables?
As well as consuming a variety of vegetables, we should be aiming for the following number of serves of vegetables, as recommended by the New Zealand Ministry of Health. The minimum number per day varies for different population groups.
- Pre-schoolers: at least 2 serves per day
- Children and Young People (2-18 years): at least 3 serves per day
- Adults (19-64 years): at least 3 serves per day
- Pregnant and Breastfeeding Women: at least 4 serves per day
- Older People (65+ years): at least 3 serves per day
Sometimes it can be difficult to judge what is considered to be 'one serve of vegetables'. The following diagram outlines some examples of what constitutes one serve for different types of vegetables. The specified quantities below will help you determine how much of each vegetable you should aim to consume.
So, what exactly counts as one serve of vegetables?
(Source: Ministry of Health, Eating and Activity Guidelines for New Zealand Adults https://www.health.govt.nz/publication/eating-and-activity-guidelines-new-zealand-adults)
Get inspired when cooking your vegetables!
If you are looking for some ideas of how to include more vegetables in your diet, there are a bunch of wonderful healthy recipes and meal plans out there that will make you say WOW!
- Try visiting the 5+ a day website, where you’ll find helpful information about what produce is in season, the benefits of fruit and vegetables, and plenty of mouth-watering recipes to help you get the recommended 5 serves of fruit and vegetables each day. Read more at https://www.5aday.co.nz/
- The New Zealand Fruit and Vegetable Alliance has put together a great resource, ‘25 easy ways to get more veges’, with lots of helpful kitchen tips for vegetable preparation. Read more here https://nutritionfoundation.org.nz/sites/default/files/2011%20NZFAVA%20Vege%20Tips%20Poster.pdf
- If you’re looking for some great educational resources too, try visiting https://www.vegetables.co.nz/ , where you’ll find a wide range of resources including some wonderful cooking videos featuring healthy recipes filled with nutritious vegetables!
Find out more here https://www.belgraviahomefitnessnetwork.com/.
*For individualised dietary support and advice, please contact your local GP or a qualified nutrition specialist