The Harvard University Medical School states consuming fruit and vegetables on a regular basis helps to control blood pressure and cholesterol, keeps arteries flexible, protects bones, and is good for the eyes, brain and digestive system.
However, for various reasons, many people are not reaching their recommended intake of five serves of vegetables, and two serves on fruit, each day.
If upping your intake seems daunting, here’s 10 fun ways to incorporate them into your menu:
Set an achievable goal: If fruits and veg aren’t your thing, start off small. Try adding one extra fruit or vegetable a day to your diet. When you’re used to that, add another and keep going.
Be sneaky: Try adding finely grated carrots or zucchini to pasta sauce, or even replacing the meat completely with mushrooms. A hearty winter stew is another way to pack your veggies in without over-thinking it.
Try something new: It’s easy to get tired of apples, bananas and grapes. Try a kiwi, mango, fresh pineapple, or another of the more exotic choices available at your grocery store.
Blend it up: Smoothies and freshly squeezed or pressed juices are a great on-the-go breakfast or afternoon snack. You’ll get a big dose of nutrients while enjoying a naturally sweet treat while saving loads of sugar.
Get dipping: Cut up some vegie sticks and serve them alongside a healthy, plant-based dip for maximum benefits. Try our homemade hummus or coriander ricotta dip.
Spread it: Try using smashed avocado in place of butter on your sandwiches or toast. You can also mash it up with diced tomatoes and onion for a homemade guacamole.
Kickstart your day: Swap your morning pastries for eggs with capsicum, mushrooms and spinach. Or amp up your morning porridge with a handful of fresh berries or dried fruit.
Roast ’em: Roasting your vegies is easy and brings out new flavors. Experiment with root vegetables like parsnip, sweet potato and carrots, and add a dash of olive oil, honey or balsamic vinegar for extra flavour.
Ditch the prep time: If peeling, cutting, and chopping aren’t your thing, food companies and grocers offer an ever-expanding selection of pre-prepared produce.
Try it with chocolate: Add some creamy, sweet goodness to your fruit like strawberries and bananas. You’ll get a hit of antioxidants while jazzing up your fruit.