Within a whisper that this current lockdown was looming, the long queues out the front of butchers and the empty meat shelves in the supermarket had everyone in a frenzy. “What are we going to do with out meat??”.
So here’s our chance to collectively reach, and even smash, the national recommendation for vegetable intake.
The Australian Dietary Guidelines (ADG) state that we should be consuming 5 serves of vegetables daily. Yet an embarrassingly low 7% of Australians actually do this. That’s 93% who eat small amounts of vegetables on a regular basis. Questioned even further about the types of vegetables eaten, potatoes ranked number one. I’m wondering if questioned again we would find that it is actually in the form of the humble chip!!
Going meat-free on at least 1-2 days a week will reduce the stress at the supermarket, save your hip pocket and improve your health and wellbeing. Remember that our gut and brain are directly linked. If the gut is unhappy, the brain under-performs. That saying ‘we are what we eat’ is actually true.
How to Boost Your Veggie Intake
Eating as many different ‘families’ and colours of veggies as possible will provide the greatest health benefit. This means incorporating the various families and colour of fruits and vegetables:
- Leafy green – lettuce, spinach and kale
- Cruciferous – cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and broccoli
- Marrow – pumpkin/squash, cucumber, eggplant and zucchini
- Root – potato, turnip, parsnip, beetroot, sweet potato and yam
- Edible plant stem – celery, rhubarb and asparagus
- Allium – onion, garlic, chives and shallot
- Red–tomatoes and capsicum- contain lycopene, thought to be important in reducing prostate cancer and heart disease
- Green–spinach, broccoli and kale- contain lutein and zeaxanthin, may protect against age-related eye disease
- Blue and purple– like eggplant and beetroot – contain anthocyanins, which may help protect the body from cancer
- White–cauliflower, fennel – contain sulforaphane and may help protect against some cancers
Health Breaks addresses the four Pillars of Health: Body, Mind, Food and Social. These Pillars interact and influence each other, so if one area of your health is not quite right, all areas may suffer.
Eating more vegetables will boost you mental and physical health. The great part is, you can eat a lot of vegetables without having to worry about weight gain (so long as they are not fried).
Health Breaks Challenge this month: go meat-free for at least one day each week this month!
Your hip pocket, body and mind will thank you for it!
Author: Kristin McMaster, Director, Health Breaks – encouraging employees to take a break for their health daily