Make vegetables count during National Nutrition Week


National Nutrition Week is here again and the Central Australia Health Service is taking up the challenge to get Territorians to eat more vegetables.

Running from the 15 – 21 of October 2018, this year’s theme is ‘Try for 5’ and aims to encourage everyone to meet the dietary recommendations to eat 5 serves of vegetables per day. This everyday group of super foods is naturally packed full of important vitamins and minerals, disease-fighting antioxidants and gut-healthy fibre. Plus – whether raw, roasted or stir-fried – these vegies taste great.

Currently 96 per cent of Aussies are not meeting the recommended intake of 5 serves of vegetables per day, with the average person eating only 2.7 serves of vegetables per day. With Australia’s growing waistlines and rising rates of chronic disease, vegetables play an important role in fighting back.

“By increasing our intake of vegetables from 1 to 3 serves per day, something we can all achieve, we can reduce the chance of having chronic diseases, like heart disease and diabetes, by 10 per cent,” Public Health Nutritionist Benjamin Pike said.

“A simple thing each of us can do to add more vegetables to our diet is put in an extra handful of diced or frozen vegetables for each person to pasta sauces and stews, or adding some salad vegetables like lettuce and tomato to sandwiches.”

Healthy habits start early with children developing lifelong eating habits from infancy. Sadly kids only eat 1.8 serves of vegetables per day and only 1 per cent of children meet their recommended number of serves.

“It’s important to get kids involved in playing with, preparing and eating vegetables from an early age so they grow up eating and loving vegetables and not fearing them or seeing them as a chore.”

The Public Health Nutritionists from Central Australia Health Service will be out in remote communities during the National Nutrition Week running a roadshow to promote eating more vegetables in schools, community development programs and remote stores.

Here are our top 5 tips to add more veg to your day:

  1. Add diced veg to scrambled eggs or omelette, i.e. capsicumspring onionzucchini, mushrooms, spinach or tomato. Serve with rocket or spinach and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
  2. Grate a carrot or zucchini, or add some kidney beans or other legumes, into any dish that involves mince, such as pasta sauces, burritos and tacos. The kids won’t even know.
  3. Snack on veggie sticks, such as celery, carrotscapsicum or cucumber, which can also be served with hommus, tzatziki or other vegetable-based dips.
  4. For a yummy snack on the go, make some savoury scones or muffins, and include any veggies you have on hand. They can also be frozen and eaten for weeks to come.
  5. Make a green smoothie with spinachbroccoli, cucumbercarrot and ginger. Add vegetables, such as avocado, cucumber, lettuce or spinach, to fruit smoothies.

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