We’re rooting for you! Try for five vegetables a day
Updated: Sep 28
Vegetables have key role they have in our health and wellbeing. Vegetables are nutrient dense and a good source of fibre (which helps us keep regular bowels), minerals and vitamins (such as magnesium, folate, and vitamin C). There is also strong evidence that for each serve of vegetables eaten each day we can decrease risk of coronary heart disease, and stroke. Most vegetables are also known to be associated with reduced risk of site-specific cancers.
Ideally, we should be aiming to eat 5 serves of vegetables a day. And while this may sound easy for some, for most of the population this can be quite challenging.
What is ‘one serve’ of vegetables?
One serve is different depending on the type of vegetable and depending on if it is cooked or raw. Below are some examples; 1 raw carrot, 1 cup of cooked broccoli, ½ cup of cooked vegetables, ½ cup of legumes or beans, 1 cup of raw vegetables or 1 cup of leafy greens.
What does 5 serves a day look like?
Five serves a day can look so many different ways and you do not have to include vegetables in all mealtimes. Here is an example of how to fit five serves into your day.
Get creative with your food and use vegetables in creative ways to bulk up food and increase the intake.
How to improve vegetable intake in aged care?
In the aged care setting, when menus have not been reviewed by Dietitians, this makes it difficult to ensure residents are receiving adequate amounts of vegetables. OSCAR Care Group Dietitians ensure there are adequate vegetables throughout the menu for residents – be sure to reach out for menu assistance if you have not yet.
Add vegetables in mid meals snacks (baking pumpkin scones, mini zucchini quiches, or carrot cakes)
Ensure vegetables are included in each main meal. Make them extra tasty by serving with butter or cheese (this will also help increase the protein and energy!)
How to improve vegetable intake in childcare?
Childcare centres have many young ones who are fussy around vegetables, so this is where we need to get creative! Quick tips:
Hiding or adding vegetables in saucy foods such as meatballs or pasta.
Cutting vegetables into fun shapes or placing them on the plate to make funny faces.
Making vegetables skewers (even better as an activity with the children to get them involved and excited!)
Add them into baking (e.g., pumpkin scones, zucchini brownies, or even a beetroot brownie)
8 Ways to include more vegetables in your life
Including more vegetables in your own life can feel overwhelming, but it does not have to be, here are some tips to increasing your intake easily and tastily.
Use vegetables in homemade dressings as a base (e.g., blending pumpkin, zucchini, or tomato).
Fill your fridge, freezer, and pantry! (Do not shy away from canned and frozen vegetables these are great options as well as fresh and they last much longer).
Do not forget about beans (chickpeas, kidney beans, or black beans are perfect to throw into tacos or burritos and lentils are ideal in Bolognese)
Use all of the spices (flavour your vegetables with different herbs and spices, or drizzle with extra virgin olive oil to add extra flavour).
Snacking on vegetables is a fantastic way to increase your vegetable intake and pairing with a delicious hommus or tzatziki dip will ensure you feel satisfied.
Savoury muffins are a terrific way to add in extra vegetables including anything you have on hand. They can also be frozen and saved for later so making a big batch can be very time efficient.
Try a new vegetable you have never tried before!
Experiment with cooking and adding in vegetables to different foods such as.
Sauces (grate carrot, zucchini, or add legumes into mince dishes with pasta sauce or even burritos and tacos.
Add vegetables in with egg dishes (mushrooms, capsicum, and spinach taste delicious in omelettes or scrambled eggs).
Try for 5 is an awareness campaign run during National nutrition week. As you can see is a great initiative to raise awareness on how amazing vegetables are but also to help provide you with the tools to successfully incorporate more veggies into your life!
In saying this, starting new habits and building knowledge on nutrition can be scary to do alone so do not forget that your OSCAR Care Group Accredited Practising Dietitians (APDs) are here to help. Our team of Dietitians can assist with menu development and recipes for Aged Care Homes and Childcare Centres. As well as personalised support through our clinic, either face-to-face in Mulgrave or via telehealth! We're here for you.