The biggest and most effective piece of advice I can give is ‘eat your veggies’! I still can’t believe there are people out there that just don’t eat vegetables (at all) or simply not enough. If you were to compare the majority, if not all diets out in the world today one very common factor they all share is vegetables. Eating more vegetables, especially the green leafy variety is key to your health and weight loss success. Vegetables really are ‘Death Defying Super Foods!’
Eating ‘REAL’ food such as fresh, natural food like meat, vegetables and fruit, foods that are nutrient dense (meaning they are packed with micro-nutrients like important vitamins, minerals and fibre) has been proven to be the most effective way for maintaining a healthy metabolism and reducing inflammation within the body. (The Whole 30 Made Simple, 2012 edition).
Vegetables are good for body composition, energy levels, sleep quality, mental attitude and quality of life. They help eliminate sugar cravings and re-establish a healthy relationship with food. Vegetables packed with vitamins and minerals also work to minimize your risk for a whole host of lifestyle diseases and conditions, like diabetes, heart attack, stroke, autoimmune, high blood pressure, cancer, diabetes, gastrointestinal health and eye diseases (Havard T.H. Chan, School of Public Health).
According to a CSIRO study which surveyed over 145,000 adults in Australia found only 24% of women and 15% of men were eating the recommended two fruits and five vegetables a day. The most common factor was convenience. This is understandable and not surprising. Unlike meat, vegetables take longer to prepare, and are harder to prepare ahead of time and store in the fridge (veggies tend to get mushy and weird when prepared ahead of time). When eating out, which a lot of us do on a regular basis, you don’t tend to find that you get as many vegetables that you would need for a healthy diet (you would need to order a extra side dish to get enough). It is not easy to get the required amounts of fruit and vegetables into your daily diet, but will a little extra planning and effort you will find it will make a huge difference to your overall health and well-being.
Here are some recommended steps to eating more fruit and vegetables each day:
1. Keep fruit where you can see it. That way you’ll be more likely to eat it.
2. Explore the produce aisle and choose something new. Variety is the key to a healthy diet.
3. Create a colourful plate. The more colour on your plate the better.
4. Make it a meal. Try cooking new recipes that include more vegetables. Salads and stir fry’s are tow ideas for getting tasty vegetables on your plate.
5. Plan ahead. Meal prep is key. Take the time each week to plan your meals for the following week and try to incorporate more veggies each day. Use the following Daily Food Journal to help plan and evaluate your meals.
The benefits of eating more of these ‘DEATH DEFYING SUPER FOODS’ are astounding. It turns out that our parents were always right! Eat your veggies! So listen to your Mum and Dad and start incorporating HUGE amounts of vegetables into your daily diet. Go out a find some delicious veggie packed recipes and experiment to make vegetables more enjoyable!
The Whole 30 Challenge - https://whole30.com/
Havard T.H. Chan, School of Public Health, https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/what-should-you-eat/vegetables-and-fruits/
Four in five Australians not eating enough fruit and vegetables: CSIRO, Irene Ceranic, ABC News; www.abc.net.au/news/2017-04-03/fruit-and-veggies-four-in-five-australians-not-eating-enough/8409766)