Healthy food Keeping it Fresh June 16 2021
Anna Oesten-Creasey Health writer Anna Oesten-Creasey Writer

Many Australians are still not reaching their recommended intake of fresh vegetables. Use National Fresh Veggies Day on 16 June to kickstart the change you need.

Did you know - fresh veggies have a national day all to themselves on Wednesday 16 June?

Don’t worry if you miss the day, the UN General Assembly has designated the whole year of 2021 as the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables! Some of the motivation behind this decision by the UN include the need for global sustainability, improved human health and a reduction of waste.

From the health perspective, many people are still unsure about how many vegetables to eat daily and will often search online for ideas. Current Australian Dietary Guidelines recommend adults eat around 5 portions of vegetables per day and 2 serves of fruit – this can change depending on your age and circumstance. More detail on your recommended daily intake is provided by Nutrition Australia in helpful tables here.

Which vegetables are good for you?

There are so many different types of vegetables grown and available throughout the year in Australia for us to enjoy! According to the Australian Government most Australians are only eating around half of the recommended quantity of vegetables per day. They suggest that eating a range of colourful vegetables can reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, stroke and weight gain. That’s because different vegetables have unique nutrients that all add to help give us the minerals and vitamins (such as magnesium, vitamin C and folate), dietary fibre and a range of phytochemicals that we need to stay well.

Young Woman Slicing Tomatoes For A Meal

Where to start

If upping your intake to the recommended number of serves seems difficult, start by making small changes that help you get more veggies in however you can:

  • Include a vegetable you have never tried in your weekly shopping.
  • Look at your meal before eating it to see if there is a range of colour on the plate. Add some red with fresh tomato, or green with some fresh cucumber for example.
  • Use avocado instead of butter in your sandwiches.
  • Swap a snack for celery or carrots sticks with hummus or a handful of nuts.
  • Check out of our fantastic healthy recipes for inspiration.
  • Try this easy and delicious recipe for a green smoothie from Accredited Dietitian Gemma Cosgriff. I once tried to make a green smoothie without checking the amounts – I always use a recipe now. It turns out there is such a thing as too much green!

You may not reach your recommended intake straightaway and that’s fine. Do try to increase the range of fresh vegetables in your diet and don’t stop looking for inspiration. Try the recipes above and if you plan to make significant changes to your diet, remember to seek advice from your GP or an Accredited Practicing Dietitian.

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Anna Oesten-Creasey Health writer Anna Oesten-Creasey Writer Anna began her career in the legal profession but has discovered a love for writing. Anna has a particular interest in community development and health promotion.