Total Health

Don’t eat enough veggies? Here’s six easy ways to include more vegetables in your diet!

May 1st, 2021 by
Category: Dr. Ashleigh O'Brien Health & Wellbeing

assortment of vegetables displayed at a market

We all know we need to eat vegetables, but how many of us can honestly say that we are eating enough every day? Do you even know how much you should be eating per day? According to the CDC, adults should be consuming five serves of vegetables per day in order to maintain a healthy diet. A serving size looks like a cup of raw vegetables or half a cup of cooked vegetables. You also need to ensure that you are eating a good variety of vegetables each day to ensure you aren’t missing out on any important minerals or vitamins. A report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare found that in 2018, 96% of adults were not eating the recommended intake of five serves of vegetables per day. 96%! This blog looks at the importance of eating vegetables and 6 easy ways to increase your daily vegetable intake!

Why should we eat vegetables?

There are many reasons why we should be eating vegetables, including:

  • Vegetables contain not only important vitamins and minerals, but also fibre – helping you stay regular and keep you fuller for longer
  • A diet high in fruits and vegetables can help protect you against diseases such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease
  • Vegetables are extremely important for gut health and help promote the growth of good gut bacteria
  • Vegetables can help lower Cholesterol
  • Vegetables can lower your blood pressure
  • They can help you maintain a healthy weight

What are the long term effects of not eating enough vegetables?

Long time effects of not eating enough vegetables may include:

  • Digestive issues, such as constipation
  • Diseases caused by vitamin and mineral deficiencies, such as scurvy (Vitamin C deficiency), bleeding disorder (Vitamin K deficiency), Anaemia (Iron deficiency) and Osteoporosis (Calcium deficiency)
  • Cardiovascular problems
  • Cancer
  • Vision issues
  • Fatigue
  • Low mood/depression
  • Gaining weight or difficulty losing weight

Six ways to add more vegetables into your diet!

1. Hide them!

Parents would be well aware of this trick when it comes to getting kids to eat their vegetables. Grating carrot, zucchini, cauliflower or even broccoli into your favourite mince dish will not only help to increase your vegetable intake, but also help to bulk out the meal and make it go further. The result? You get a meal packed with vegetables and nutrients, with the kids (teens and even adults!) none the wiser!

 2. Soups in winter 

There is nothing better than a warm, hearty bowl of soup in the middle of winter. A simple pumpkin soup can be filled with multiple vegetables, such as pumpkin, sweet potato, potato, carrot and onion. It is an easy way to add a lot of veggies into one meal and by cooking up a large amount, you will have easy to heat leftovers for a few nights too.

3. Try cooking vegetables in different ways

Not everyone is a fan of steamed vegetables or salads. Take the time to experiment with different cooking methods to find a way to enjoy vegetables. You will find that eating more vegetables will be easier if you actually enjoy eating them. Roast some pumpkin and carrots, add some boiled sweet potato into your mashed potatoes, slow cook your vegetables into your favourite curry or even make your own pizza base out of cauliflower! The possibilities are endless!

4. Use vegetables in place of some old favourites

We all love pasta and rice, but sometimes vegetables can be a good replacement for them, particularly if you are looking for ways to increase your intake. Make ‘spaghetti’ out of carrots, zucchini or sweet potato and top them with your favourite pasta sauce for a healthier version of spag bol. Next time you make a curry, use cauliflower rice instead of regular rice. This is a super easy way to increase your veggie intake each week.

5. Swap out the low nutrient snacks for vegetables

Rather than reaching for a bag of chips that has little nutritional value, grab your favourite dip or yoghurt and cut up some carrot, celery or capsicum sticks to enjoy with it. Hummus and beetroot dips with vegetable sticks make for quick and easy snacks without the worry of over-consumption and will keep you fuller for longer. 

6. Drink your vegetables

A quick and easy way to consume vegetables on the go is to add them into your smoothie. Some of the best ingredients to add include spinach, kale, avocado and beetroot. They will help to increase your vegetable intake and also have you feeling fuller for longer. You can even make your smoothie the night before and leave it in the fridge so that you have one less thing to do during your morning rush.

Eating a well rounded and varied diet that includes five serves of vegetables per day is important for vitamin and mineral intake, to help protect from disease, and to maintain a healthy diet. If you have any questions or required personalised advice, please book an appointment with a trusted healthcare professional like a nutritionist or dietitian.


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