Ten easy ways to increase fruit and vegetable intake

Author: Amber Houghton   Date Posted:10 July 2014 

Most of us know how important it is to eat a healthy, nutritionally dense and balanced diet, but how many of us actually find that an easy task?

According to the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), the average Australian adult should be consuming 2 servings of fruit and 5 servings of vegetables each day.

Do you manage to eat all of this every day? If the answer is no, you’re not alone - the Australian Bureau of Statistics, has found that as few as 6% of adults over 19 years of age actually get their ‘2 & 5’ everyday.

When you consider the health benefits associated with a higher intake of fruit and vegetables, it is clear that the 94% of people not meeting the NHMRC’s guidelines should seriously consider making some dietary improvements!

While it can often seem like a daunting task, consuming your ‘2 & 5’ each day needn’t be as difficult as you might think. Increase fruit and vegetable intake with our top inspirational tips:

  1. If your mornings are a mad dash around the house before bolting out of the front door, consider investing in a blender to whip up a nutritious smoothie for breakfast. Slice, peel or chop ingredients the night before, pop in a container and store overnight in the fridge.Alternatively, frozen fruit makes for an even quicker option during a mad morning rush - come morning time, throw all your ingredients into the blender, whizz up and drink your 2 servings of fruit for the day!
  2. Jazz up bland toast with avocado, sliced tomatoes, mushrooms or baked beans.
  3. If you’re a sandwich-eater, include a handful of green leafy veg such as rocket or spinach, avocado instead of butter or margarine, and sprouts such as alfalfa with your cheese or meat.
  4. Salads don’t have to be boring! As well as the usual suspects of lettuce and tomato, throw in some grated carrot and beetroot, pinenuts or walnuts, feta and even a few slices of pear. Delicious.
  5. Just as you can drink your fruit, consider drinking your veggies too. Investing in a juicer will give you the opportunity to whip up refreshing and nutritious juices. Try apple, carrot, beetroot and ginger for a wonderfully warming nutritional kick.
  6. Add extra veggies to everything. Whether you’re making an omelette, casserole, pasta dish or soup, increase the nutritional value by adding extra vegetables even if the recipe doesn’t suggest them. For example, try adding broccoli or cauliflower to a curry or chopped spinach and flaxseeds to a pasta sauce.
  7. If you like to snack throughout the day, make sure you have healthy snacks on hand that can count towards your fruit and/or veggie intake. Consider taking a small container of blueberries, cucumber, carrot or celery sticks with a dip such as hummous to work or school with you.
  8. At your next BBQ, make veggie skewers that can be cooked and eaten alongside the traditional BBQ foods. Mushroom, capsicum, red onion, haloumi and pineapple make for a delicious combination.
  9. When you make a lasagne, instead of using lasagne sheets, use slices of zucchini, eggplant or roasted pumpkin to separate your layers of meat and sauce.
  10. A home-made pizza using blended cauliflower as a base is an excellent way to boost your veggie intake for the day. Top with mushrooms, capsicums, corn, red onion, spinach – the choices are endless!
Written by Amber Houghton
Amber Houghton

Amber holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Naturopathy, and has a particular passion for nutritious, whole-food eating. She feels education surrounding the best dietary and lifestyle choices are fundamental in allowing people to take responsibility for their own health, and to help with the maintenance of their well-being.

Although passionate about wholesome food, Amber does confess to having a particular fondness for cake, and enjoys a slice every now and then.