In July 2022, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, released their findings from the ABS 2020-21 National Health Survey. This is a self-report survey completed online.
Results of the report showed:
- 91% of Australian adults did not consume the recommended number of serves of vegetables (96% for men and 87% for women)
According to the Australian dietary guidelines, the recommended vegetable intake is at least 5 serves vegetables per day. A serve =
- ½ cup cooked green or orange vegetables (eg broccoli, spinach, carrots, pumpkin)
- ½ cup cooked dried or canned legumes
- 1 cup leafy greens or raw salad vegetables
- ½ cup sweet corn
- ½ medium potato or sweet potato
- 1 medium tomato
The recommended number of serves of vegetables is already fairly low, so it is concerning to see what the majority of adult Australians are not even reaching this target.
Why may this be the case?
This survey was undertaken during covid and of course lockdowns had many impacts on households including:
- Loss of job / decreased hours and therefore income
- Lack of access to the supermarket and fresh veggies
- Sickness impacting appetite and food choice
- “comfort” eating due to increased stress and being at home
- Lack of routine and motivation may have seen people gravitating towards convenience foods
In addition to this, the due to floods, the cost of vegetables has sky rocketed and this may have caused a barrier for many families.
Bearing all of this in mind, here are 10 ways to increase your veggie intake:
Blend ½ can chickpeas or cannellini beans with 1 small avocado and serve on toast with sliced tomato, instead of avocado and eggs on toast.
Tip make a full batch using a full can and use as a sandwich/wrap spread or dip during the day
Swap a sandwich /wrap for a stuffed sweet potato using corn, tomato, avocado, tinned fish as a filling and serve with a side salad.
Add a handful of leafy greens and/or frozen zucchini to smoothies at breakfast time.
Batch cook a ratatouille and use across various dishes including:
- As a dinner side
- Blended as a sauce for chicken or fish (can bake in the sauce)
- Served on top of toast with eggs for breakfast
- Added to wraps or sandwiches alongside protein of choice and leafy greens
Serve Bolognese, casseroles etc on a bed of roasted veggies / salad rather than pasta and rice.
Pickle veggies such as zucchini, fennel, carrot and cauliflower and use as a topper for meals.
Swap sweet muffins for savory muffins using sweet potato, carrot and zucchini as snacks
Start dinner with a leafy green salad, make this a non-negotiable!
Use veggies in salad dressings, for example blend roasted carrot with olive oil, vinegar and spices and create a yummy bright dressing or try the same with beetroot. Use olive oil or water to thin to desired consistency.
Turn yoghurt into a yummy dip by mixing with grated carrot, cumin, lemon juice, diced tomatoes and sultanas, use this on salads, as a dinner sauce or with veggies and crackers for snacks.