How did everyone go getting their 5 serves of vegetables each day during National Nutrition Week? It's surprisingly not as difficult as you think. My secret is to add things like chickpeas, legumes or lentils to a lot of my dishes to give it that extra bit of nutrition as well as another serve of vegetables.
If we break it down into the meals of the day, it's pretty easy to get those 5 serves.
Breakfast: 1/2 serve
Lunch: 2 serves
Dinner: 2 serves
Snacks: 1/2 serve
When you look at it that way, it seems so easy and that's because it is.
I want to highlight the importance of eating 5 serves of vegetables each day. A diet that is high in vegetables can reduce the risk of developing chronic disease, improve energy, promote a healthy digestive system, stabilise blood sugar, reduce the risk of obesity, promote a healthy liver and so much more. Every single nutrient that we absorb from eating vegetables has an important role in regulating and maintaining homeostasis within the body.
The World Health Organisation found that those who consume a diet low in fruits and vegetables are at a higher risk of developing chronic disease and that low intake of fruits and vegetables is estimated to cause about 19% of gastrointestinal cancer, 31% of ischemic heart disease and 11% of stroke worldwide. They also concluded that 2.7 million lives could be saved each year worldwide if everyone increased their fruit and vegetable intake to the recommended servings.
These research findings are so powerful and need to be shared around the world. Chronic disease can be prevented by something as simple as increasing fruit and vegetables in the diet.
Here are my 3 recipes from National Nutrition Week that will help you increase your vegetable intake! They are quick, easy and delicious :) Enjoy!
1. Veggie & Lentil Soup
1 small sweet potato
1 small potato
1 stick of celery
2 cloves of garlic
1 chilli or 1 tsp chilli flakes
1 cup 'soup mix' (lentils & barley mix)
1L vegetable stock (homemade or I like the brand called Australia's Own Organics)
Pepper to taste
1. Dice all the vegetables
2. Put all ingredients into a slow cooker and set to high
3. This should take around 6 hours
4. If you don't own a slow cooker, place all ingredients into a large pot on a medium heat.
5. Stir every 15 - 20 minutes. This should take around 1hour.
This is great to freeze if you don't want to eat it all in one go!
2. Vegetable Platter
2 punnets cherry tomatoes
2 celery sticks
100g green beans
Small block of cheddar or tasty cheese
Small handful of basil leaves
1/2 bunch of spring onion
1 bunch chives
500g greek yoghurt
1Tbsp dried mixed herbs
1 squeeze lemon juice
2tsp minced garlic
Dried chilli flakes to taste
1. In a blender, add spring onion, chives, greek yoghurt, avocado, hedrbamare, herbs, lemon, garlic & chilli - blend until combined
2. Cut carrot, cucumber, capsicum and celery into sticks
3. Cut cheese into small cubes
4. Put cherry tomatoes, basil leaves and cheese onto toothpicks
5. Pour dip into a small bowl
6. Arrange vegetables around the bowl of dip and serve!
To make vegetable cups, place 1 - 2 tablespoons of dip at the bottom of a cup and then add a few sticks of each vegetable
3. Green Smoothie
1/2 cup spinach
1/2 cup diced cucumber (peeled)
1/2 cup romaine or cos lettuce
1/2 cup coconut water
1 orange (peeled)
Squeeze of lemon
1 Tsp of your favourite 'greens' powder
Add all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth
Just remember, every time you eat is an opportunity to nourish your body. So make good choices!