A magic pill if ever there was one?

What if I told you there was a pill you could take that would universally decrease your risk of weight gain, coronary heart disease, stroke, and multiple forms of cancer, all with little to no side effects? You would take it wouldn’t you?

While no such magic pill exists, nature has provided us with all of these benefits deliciously packaged within the bounty of vegetables we have available to us. And the best news is it’s all readily available in the head of broccoli sitting at your local green grocers. So why are so few Australians consuming enough of these humble heroes?

In fact the vast majority of us aren’t even coming close to the recommended amount. In 2014-15 only seven per cent of Australians met the recommended consumption of vegetables.

With a recommended target of five to six serves per day, we all have a long way to go at improving our intake of nature’s multivitamins.

Let’s look at some examples of what makes up a serve of vegetables:

  • ½ cup cooked green or orange vegetables (for example broccoli, spinach, carrots or pumpkin)
  • ½ cup cooked dried or canned beans, peas or lentils
  • 1 cup green leafy or raw salad vegetables
  • ½ cup sweet corn
  • ½ medium potato or other starchy vegetables (sweet potato, taro or cassava)
  • 1 medium tomato

By dodging our vegetables we are missing out on a host of beneficial vitamins, minerals, fibre and antioxidants that help manage our weight, regulate our bowels, boost our immune system, prevent diet related disease and help our body function at its best.

For most of us we only think about vegetables at our main meal of the day, however in order to hit those targets we need to consume vegetables more than once a day.

Here’s some easy tips to boost your veggie intake:

  • Go veggie based for lunch – think multiple salad ingredients on your sandwich or wrap or make a big salad out of leftover roast veg, rocket and shredded chicken.
  • Add some veggies to breakfast – add mushrooms, spinach and tomato to your eggs or if you a smoothie on the go is more your style add a handful of baby spinach, you’ll barely notice it.
  • Keep some veggies on hand for snacks – store pre-cut carrots or beans in a little water in the fridge. It keeps them crunchy for a couple of days and you will be much more likely to reach for them if they are ready to go. Snack on them while you prepare dinner.

So what are you waiting for? Go eat more veg!

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