Nine out of 10 South Australians aren’t eating enough vegetables. Eating plenty of fruit and vegetables will support healthy living, boost dietary fibre intake and help to reduce the risk of cancers of the gastrointestinal tract—such as stomach cancer and bowel cancer as well as cancer of the mouth, pharynx, larynx and oesophagus.
The Australian Dietary Guidelines recommend two serves of fruit and five serves of vegetables each day. We know that eating enough serves of vegetables can be hard to achieve, so we’ve put together our top 5 tips to help you get more vegetables into your day:
1. Veggie sauces
Adding vegetables to your favourite saucy dishes is a great way to sneak extra servings of vegetables into your day. Some of our favourites include:
- Spaghetti bolognaise – Grate carrot or zucchini, or add shredded cauliflower, spinach, mushrooms or celery into a bolognaise sauce (or any dish that has a tomato-based sauces or involves mince).
- Casserole and curry sauces – Add small, diced vegetables such as parsnip, capsicum, pumpkin, broccoli or any green vegetables for some extra colour and crunch.
- Chicken pasta salad – Mix leafy greens, tomatoes and other vegetables into your sauce-based dishes to boost your intake.
2. Snack on veg
Vegetables can make a great high fibre snack option and there are so many ways to enjoy them—raw, cooked or dipped. Why not try:
- Loading your high fibre wholegrain or multigrain crackers with vegetables such as avocado and tomato.
- Snacking on veggie sticks with vegetable-based dips such as hummus, beetroot or tzatziki.
- For a snack on the go, why not prep ahead of time and make some savoury scones or muffins—zucchini, carrot, pumpkin or corn are great options to consider. An added bonus is that they can also be frozen and eaten later.
3. Add beans and legumes
Don’t underestimate the power of the humble bean and legume! These affordable little additions to any meal are a great way to add some extra vegetables into your day. Here’s how you can include more of them to create high fibre meals:
- Mix up your meals by including a vegetarian meal each week using lentils. It is cheap and nutritious, as lentils are an excellent source of protein and dietary fibre.
- Add some canned kidney beans, lentils, chickpeas (or other legumes) to curries, stews or mince dishes such as pasta sauces, stuffed capsicums, burritos and tacos to make the meal go further and increase the fibre content. The kids and picky eaters won’t even know!
4. Mix egg and veg
This combination is a match made in healthy heaven! Not only is this duo delicious, but it’s also another great way to increase your vegetable intake. Here are some of our favourite ways to combine eggs and vegetables:
- Serving vegetables alongside your cooked breakfast such as avocado, tomatoes, mushrooms and/or spinach is a great way to add extra veggies to your day.
- Add vegetables to scrambled eggs or omelettes—capsicum, zucchini, tomato, mushrooms, spinach and/or spring onion are always great options.
- Vegetable quiches, fritters or egg-based fried rice or stir fry are super tasty options for lunch or evening meals. Frozen veggies are perfect for these types of recipes.
5. Turn your veggies into chips
This is a fun way to add extra vegetables into your day, and it offers a healthier alternative to the traditional potato chip. All you have to do is add spices or herbs and roast your vegetables to turn them into chips—it’s as simple as that.
Sweet potato, parsnip, turnip, carrot, beetroot and kale chips are all healthy options! Pick your favourite spice or herbs—such as ground cumin, curry powder, lemon pepper, garlic powder, rosemary or thyme—and get cooking. Try our delicious chilli and paprika kale chips recipe to get started.
Looking for more ways to boost your fruit and vegetable intake or make a healthy meal plan? Take a look at Cancer Council SA’s range of healthy recipes and high fibre meal plan for inspiration for your next shopping trip.
For more information on diet and cancer, visit cancersa.org.au/prevention/lifestyle-factors/diet