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How many vegetables?

Posted by Christine Innes APD on 25 July 2014

Do you know how many veges we are supposed to eat everyday?

Vegetables including legumes and beans and fruits give us vitamins, minerals, fibre and lots of phytonutrients or antioxidants which help our body to stay healthy. Most fruit and ‘veg’ are low in kilojoules or energy and the fibre they provide also helps us with appetite control and maintaining a healthy weight. And they can taste great!

The Australian Dietary Guidelines tell us that most men should eat 6 serves of vegetables or 5 serves per day for a woman. Slightly less is recommended for older adults (5 ½ for older men and 5 serves for older women). Children need varying amounts based on their age ranging from 2 ½ serves for the 2-3 year olds to 5 ½  serves for 14-18 year old boys.

But how much is a serve?

A standard serve is about 75g of vegetable. This is about:

  • ½ a cup of cooked veg, such as spinach, carrots, broccoli, green beans, pumpkin; or
  • 1 cup of salad
  • ½ cup of dried or canned legumes such as borlotti or cannellini beans, spilt peas or lentils; or
  • ½ cup of starchy veg like sweetcorn, sweet potato or potato; or

Are you eating the recommended number of serves?

Here are some ways to get more veges in your day:

  • Make a salad at lunch to go with a sandwich or leftovers.
  • Vegie sticks like carrot or celery sticks or baby cucumbers and cherry tomatoes make a great snack anytime on their own or with low fat dip such as tzatziki or hommos.
  • Try making some vegetable soup for a healthy, filling low fat meal or snack.
  • Add extra veg to dishes such as savoury mince, bolognaise sauce, casseroles and stews. Grating the veg first helps blend it into the dish.
  • Add some veg at breakfast by topping toast with sliced tomato, asparagus, mushrooms or corn.
  • Make veg fun for kids by encouraging them to shop with you for veg, making veg into shapes such as stars, being creative and putting ‘broccoli trees’ in a bed of mashed potato. Most importantly encourage children to just have a taste of veg and role model by eating plenty yourself.

Still not getting enough?

If you think you or your child is not eating enough veg and your diet could do with some improvements why not book in to see one of our Accredited Practising Dietitians for a nutritional review of your diet, including a healthy eating plan and some creative ideas to include more vegetables in your daily routine..

Author:Christine Innes APD
Tags:Healthy EatingVegetables