Fitting More Fruit and Vegetables Into Your Diet

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can cook most vegetables in just a few minutes if you steam,
stir fry or microwave them.
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9 August 1999
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Fitting more fruit and vegetables
into your diet
NSW Multicultural Health Communication Service
e-mail: [email protected]
phone: (02) 9382 8111

Fitting more fruit and vegetables into your diet
Add extra vegetables to salads, soups, stir-fries, casse-
roles and curries.

If you’re not eating at least two pieces of fruit and five servings
Many traditional cuisines base dishes on vegetables with just a
of vegetables each day, now’s the time to start. Although
little meat, poultry or fish - this is a good habit to keep. Re-
there’s no single “miracle” food to prevent or cure cancer, sci-
member that the more different colours you have on your
entists know fruit and vegetables have some protective effect
plate, the healthier the meal. Bright colours in natural foods
against this and other diseases. They also know that people
like tomatoes, capsicums, carrots, sweet potatoes and green
who eat few fruits and vegetables have higher rates of cancer
vegetables mean they contain antioxidants - food substances
than those who don’t. Although some people think they can get
that help prevent disease. The deeper the colour, the healthier
the same benefits from vitamin and mineral supplements, this
the food.
isn’t true. Vegetables and fruits don’t just contain vitamins and
minerals, but also many other substances which are important
Get children into the habit of snacking on fruit. The earlier
for good health and which you won’t find in a pill.
you start, the easier it is to get them used to eating fruit as a
snack at home or at school, rather than eating something from
Australia has such a variety of fruit and vegetables available
a packet. It’s a good habit that will help them grow up healthy.
that it’s not hard to fit plenty of them into the family’s diet. Here
Try and have a variety of different fruits so they don’t get bored
are some ideas
with the same thing. Make fruit salad with a variety of different
fruits for dessert - again, the more colours you can combine,
Add fruit at breakfast. Bananas, kiwi fruit, strawberries or
the better. In warmer weather, fruits like grapes or peeled ba-
dried fruit combine well with breakfast cereal. In a hurry? A
nanas taste great when frozen.
piece of fruit with bread, toast or cooked rice makes a good
quick breakfast - so do smoothies or milkshakes, made by
Let children help prepare fruit and vegetables. It’s all part
adding soft fruit to milk and yoghurt in a blender.
of learning to enjoy these foods - and a first step in learning
how to cook.
Be adventurous. It’s easy to get into a rut, buying the same
vegetables and cooking them in the same ways. But experi-
Share a piece of fruit. Children who might baulk at eating a
ment with vegetables you’ve never eaten before - or use fa-
whole apple, will often happily eat a piece if you cut it up and
miliar vegetables in unfamiliar ways. Try a little mashed avo-
share it. It’s a good strategy to use with the men in the family
cado instead of butter or margarine as a spread on bread - it
too - research into food habits has found that many men are
has less fat and more nutrients, as well as more flavour. We’re
more likely to eat fruit if it’s cut up.
all familiar with grated carrot, but have you tried grating other
vegetables like zucchini, beetroot or red cabbage and adding
The next time you think time is too short to eat properly, re-
them to salads or sandwiches, or tried baking beetroot or
member that fruit and vegetables can be among the most con-
sweet potatoes in their skins?
venient foods around. Fruits like bananas, apples, pears, or
mandarins are easy to carry and need no preparation, and you