How To Eat More Vegetables

A Naturopath’s Guide…

I do spend a fair amount of my day encouraging people to eat more vegetables. Even many of my clients who follow plant-based diets aren’t eating enough.

We need all that veg for so many reasons, here are just a few:

  • To lower the risk of developing cancers (loads of research on this!)
  • To help improve your mood and mental health
  • To help get enough fibre in our diet for healthy digestion and bowel movements
  • To get optimum levels of vitamins and minerals to avoid deficiencies
  • Because they taste great and add extra oomph to your meals.

So how many vegetables should we be eating? And what are the easiest ways to increase them in our diet?Most research has focused around the idea of 5 serves of veg & 2 fruit a day. But is this enough? And what does a serve of vegetables even look like? (Check out the infographic below). I like to encourage my clients to attempt to eat fruit or veg with every meal and even their snacks. I like to set a goal of around 40 different plant-based foods per week.Yes – 40 different fruit & veg a week. That seems like a lot, but if you start to calculate it you should be able to get there pretty easily. This does include nuts, seeds, grains, pseudo-grains, olives and other non-vegetably looking things.On a good day I can get to around 20-25 different plant-based foods after dinner time. Count them up sometime and see where you get to. You may surprise yourself!

How To Eat More Vegetables:

Here are some ways to ensure you are getting enough vegetables in your diet:

  • BUY SEASONALLY, GET A VEG BOX OR HIT THE FARMERS MARKETS – YOU’LL GET THE CHEAPEST AND MOST DELICIOUS VEGETABLES THIS WAY.
  • DON’T THINK A DINNER OF PROTEIN & 3 VEGETABLES IS OLD FASHIONED! IF YOU ARE EATING AT LEAST 3 DIFFERENT VEG WITH DINNER YOU’RE DOING A GREAT JOB.
  • ADD HERBS & SPICES TO EVERYTHING. GREEN HERBS, DRIED SPICES ARE GREAT FOR YOU IN SO MANY WAYS. JUST PUT THEM IN EVERYTHING. YES, FOR ME GREEN HERBS – IN GOOD HANDFUL MEASURES – COUNT AS LEAFY GREENS.
  • MAKE A HABIT OF ALWAYS HAVING A SIDE SALAD WITH DINNER.
  • BOOST YOUR SALADS WITH NUTS, SEEDS, AND MORE VEGETABLES. ADDING GRATED BEETS, OR LEFTOVER ROAST VEG, OR GREEN HERBS OR STEAMED BROCCOLI TO YOUR SALADS GIVES THEM EXTRA VEG PRETTY EASILY. GO AND SUPER CHARGE THOSE SALADS.
  • SCRAMBLED EGGS OR TOFU FOR BREAKFAST – USE A FOOD PROCESSOR TO CHOP UP EXTRA VEG QUICKLY TO ADD INTO THEM.
  • ADD AN AVOCADO (WHILE IN SEASON) TO EVERYTHING.
  • COOK STIR-FRY FOR DINNER AND ADD MORE VEG THAN YOU NORMALLY WOULD. IF YOU’RE HAVING FRIED RICE/CAULIFLOWER/QUINOA USE MORE VEG THAN GRAIN.
  • SNACK ON A HANDFUL OF NUTS, SOME VEG STICKS WITH HUMMUS, A PIECE OF FRUIT (MANDARINS ARE CURRENTLY IN SEASON AND ARE AMAZING!).
  • WINTER CALLS FOR STEWS AND SLOW COOKED MEALS AND SOUPS. THROW EXTRA GREEN VEG IN AT THE END TO MAKE SURE YOU EAT IT WHILE FRESH AND CRUNCHY.
  • DITCH THAT PROCESSED FOOD CRAP – EVEN IF IT IS PLANT-BASED THEY HAVE HAD THE GOODNESS SQUEEZED OUT OF THEM WITH TOO MUCH SODIUM, SUGAR, CRAPPY PROCESSED OILS AND A LONG SHELF LIFE. EAT FRESH – IT IS MUCH EASIER AND CHEAPER IN THE LONG RUN.

Let me know how you get on. If you need help with revolutionising the way you eat, encouragement and motivation please get in touch. I’m here to help and I love talking about vegetables.

Hannah Boyd is a nutritionist and herbal medicine practitioner in Sydney’s Inner West. She specialises in wholefood eating, mental health, plant-based diets and hormone balancing. Book an appointment with her today to gain the tools you need to develop a healthy, balanced approach to health.

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