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The ONE nutritional guideline experts agrees on

Have you noticed that whatever type of food you focus on, you can find completely opposing expert opinion about whether we should eat it or not?

Dairy or no dairy? Carbohydrates – in or out? Vegetarian or meat-based? How much fruit, if any? Raw food or cooked meals? And what about fat? Saturated fat is making a comeback in some circles despite what the Heart Foundation recommends.

Crazy. But the good news is, there is one piece of nutritional advice everyone agrees upon: Eat lots of vegetables.

The problem is, only about six percent of Australians actually eat the recommended 5 serves of vegetables every day. Hard to believe isn’t it?

So before you take on the latest food trend, why not start with the basics and explore ways you can consistently incorporate these health-enhancing foods into your daily intake?

Here are two suggestions for incorporating more vegetables, in an enjoyable way.

1. Don’t wait until dinner-time to get all of your vegetables.

  • Try adding vegetables to breakfast, eg green smoothies (yes they can taste great, just use a green leafy vegetable with a mild taste such as baby spinach or Kale) or add mushrooms, tomato, zucchini or spinach to your eggs on toast.
  • At lunchtime, add a cup of salad.
  • For a snack, dip into hommous or guacamole with raw vegetable sticks.
  • When serving up at dinner time, cover at least half of your plate with vegetables, and think of the protein (eg meat, chicken, fish, egg) as a side serve.

2. Think Rainbow Food

  • Look at each meal and ask how you can boost the number of natural colours present in your dish. Add something green and something red or orange and you’ll be doing pretty well.

Perhaps you are already a good vegetable eater already and would like to refine your choices.  If so, then you might be interested in the findings of this 24-year prospective study, involving 133,468 people. This study found that starchy vegetables, such as potato, sweet potato, peas and corn were associated with weight gain, while non-starchy vegetables (such as carrots, capsicums, leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables) were associated with prevention of long-term weight gain.