You may have heard this multiple times, that we are not getting enough vegetables in our day. We should be aiming for 5 serves of vegetables, and 2 serves of fruits every day. That’s a total of 7 serves of fruit or veggies per day.
But how can you eat that many vegetables and that much fruit? And how do you fit them into your daily meal plan?
You would be eating dinner for over an hour if you tried to get all 5 serves into your nighttime meal. So, here are our suggestions on how to get more veggies into your healthy eating plan every day.
How many servings of fruit and vegetables do I need to eat daily?
The Australian Dietary Guidelines recommend that adults eat 5-6 servings of vegetables and two servings of fruit daily. This is the recommended minimum, but this doesn’t mean you can’t include extra vegetables or fresh fruits in your meal plan.
When it comes to kids, the servings of fruit and vegetables recommended are the same as for adults.
You need to understand how much a serve of vegetables and a serving of fruits is before you start working on your meal plan. Is it just a cup of vegetables or a cup of fresh fruit? Or does the serving size depend on the fruit or veggie you’re working with?
A standard serve of vegetables is about 75 grams, and a typical serve of fruits is about 150 grams. This equals about 100-300 Kj of vegetables and 300 Kj of fresh fruit, although it can vary based on the fruit or veggie you’re using.
To help you understand what a serve of veggies here is some examples:
- ½ cup cooked green or orange vegetables
- ½ cup cooked dried or canned beans, peas or lentils
- 1 cup green leafy or raw salad vegetables
- ½ cup sweet corn
- ½ medium potato or other starchy vegetables
- 1 medium tomato
To understand what a serve of fruit is, here are some examples:
- 1 medium apple, banana, orange or pear
- 2 small apricots, kiwi fruits or plums
- 1 cup diced or canned fruit (no added sugar)
Simple ways to get your 5-a-day serving of vegetables into your meal plan!
If you’re struggling to get your 5 a day of vegetables, don’t stress. There are some simple ways to get your share of fresh fruit and vegetables into your healthy eating plan.
A recent survey conducted by the Australian government found over 90% of people above the age of 16 did not consume the recommended servings of vegetables daily.
We will show you a few simple ways to get your recommended daily servings of veggies in your day. It takes practice, but we can all do it.
The aim is to eat vegetables or fruit at each meal or snack.
Most people see having a couple of cups of fruit for breakfast as a typical and tasty breakfast meal. Often people think of breakfast as a no go vegetable zones. There are plenty of healthy recipes that you can enjoy some fruit or even get your vegetable intake included in your breakfast.
- There are plenty of healthy recipes like omelettes where you can add 1 cup of spinach and a ½ cup of chopped mushrooms. That would be 2 of your 5 serves done by breakfast time.
- Think of roasted capsicums and fetta cheese on grainy toast. That is 1 serve of veggies there as well.
- Or you could add 1 cup of baby spinach, a puck of frozen spinach, and some fresh fruit like raspberries or blueberries to your Healthy Mummy Smoothie.
These are just a few simple tricks to start the day off with a veggie bang.
People often head for a piece of fresh fruit as a snack, mix it up next time and try some veggies instead.
- Some suggestions for veggie-based snacks are, of course, vegetable sticks. Still, these could also be served with a veggie or legume-based dip (legumes like chickpeas and lentils are deemed veggies!!). You could again knock off 2 servings of veggies just in your mid-morning or afternoon snack.
- How about 3 or 4 celery sticks with some peanut butter. Yum! The protein hit will also keep you feeling fuller for a little longer.
- A cup of dried fruit is also a great snack that can help increase your serving of fruit if you struggle to get them.
- Have some veggie-based dips as a snack, like a beetroot dip or a spinach dip. Not only is the dip made of vegetables, but if you consume the dip with some carrot and cucumber sticks, you may make up a whole serving of vegetables in a snack.
- Find some other veggie-based snacks you could eat. This does not mean beetroot chips in a bag! They have just as much fat, sometimes more, than standard chips. What about having cut-up veggies for snacks, cucumber, carrot, celery. Eat them with reduced-fat cream cheese, ricotta, hummus, or a nut-based spread for extra protein. Take them to work, take them to school or uni, take them wherever you go.
When you are having lunch, opt for a healthy recipe that you can veggify. Salads are obviously the easy option, but you don’t have to stick to salads. You can include many other possibilities in your meal plan and get your 5 a day.
Think about bulking up your sandwich or wrap with ½ cup of carrot or 1 cup of leafy greens. Try one or the other or both, and you could be ticking off another 2 serves!
Try and eat a few servings of veggies with your lunch. Have a side salad, an extra serving of grated carrot in your sandwich, or even if you have a Healthy Mummy Smoothie, add some spinach.
You’re now halfway through your day and have ticked off 4-6 serves of veggies in your healthy eating or weight loss meal plan.
Dinner is the obvious time to meal prep and include veggies in the meal plan, but if you’ve been following our tips, you’ve already ticked off about 4-6 serves, so you can take it easy at dinner time.
Try to always eat your dinner with a side of veggies; aim for 3 serves. You can have them in the actual meal, hidden or part of it, and then add them on the side.
One way to help with vegetable consumption at night is to try and have at least 2 vegetarian meals per week. You can also add salad, steamed veggies, roast veggies, ratatouille or a host of other veggie side dishes to your main meal to add vegetable content for the day.
So don’t delay, add some veggies to every meal today!
You could potentially be at 6 serves following this eating plan!
What if I have the Healthy Mummy Smoothie range twice a day?
Of course, if you’re consuming the Healthy Mummy Smoothie Range, you’ll not have as many meal ‘occasions’ to consume veggies. Don’t fret. Per serve, there is a wide range of vitamins and minerals, and most are at 25% of the recommended daily intake, which is fabulous.
What about fibre? You’re not missing out on all the fibre from vegetables if you consume the Healthy Mummy Smoothies. Every serving includes flaxseed and pumpkin meal, which are excellent sources of Omega 3 fatty acids and fibre. There are approximately 6 grams of fibre per serve in just the smoothie mix, not to mention the added fibre from the fruit, added veggies (go on, try it!!) and other additives like coconut or rolled oats that you add to your smoothie. Have a look at some yummy reader recipes here.
If you were consuming two smoothies per day, we’d recommend that you aim for at least 3 vegetable serves per day. That can be in snacks and in your main meal at night time. Look at some Healthy Mummy recipes to incorporate healthy eating into your nightly meal.
Go on, eat a carrot!
5 hidden veggie recipes for all the fussy eaters out there.
For years we have been told that we need at least five servings of vegetables per day to maintain a healthy diet, but sometimes this can be a struggle, especially if you have fussy kids.
So how do you get nutritional goodness without fighting the kids or even your taste buds? Add some hidden veggies to your favourite recipes.
We have found five hidden veggie recipes for you and your family to try, plus some BONUS chocolate brownies.
Red fish curry with hidden veggies
This red fish curry is so full of flavour even the most discerning taste buds won’t be able to tell it contains a good dose of veggie goodness! Plus, you can cook a double batch and freeze some for an easy dinner later.
Healthy lamb and feta meatballs with hidden veggies
Just because you’re eating healthy doesn’t mean you need to miss out on your favourite comfort foods. These Healthy Lamb Feta Meatballs are not only tasty but are so nutritious you can have them on the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge.
Healthy hidden veggie sausage rolls
Sausage rolls are a kid’s party favourite. This recipe, sent in by mum of 3 and 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge participant Beth Henke, also includes hidden veggies which makes them suitable for kids.
Pink pancake pockets with hidden fruit and veg
Breakfast is often called the most important meal of the day, so why not start your day right with these yummy and healthy pink pancakes. Not only do they appease your early morning sweet tooth, but they also contain extra nutritional goodness with some sneaky veggies included.
Kids both big and small will love this healthy breakfast treat.
Gooey chocolate cake and sauce with sneaky veggies
This recipe is for all those sweet tooths out there. With multiple vegetables mixed into the batter, there is no way you can say no to treating yourself to a piece of this Gooey Chocolate Cake.
BONUS: Hidden veggie brownie recipes.
We have gathered some yummy and nutritious brownie recipes for all the chocolate lovers out there, including some sneakily hidden veggies. You can quell those chocolate cravings without hurting your healthy eating plan.
Check out the healthy recipes here.