Are you getting enough veggies?

  • Date: 08 March 2017
  • Category: News
Fruit and Vegetables

We all know we should eat our veggies, but the truth is most of us are not eating enough – not by a long shot.

The latest national health survey reveals only 7% of Australians eat enough veggies. In Victoria, it’s even worse, with the Victorian Population Health survey revealing just 5% of Victorians are eating the recommended intake. At such a small percentage, it is fair to assume that many people might think they are eating enough veggies, without realising they're falling short.

So how much is enough?

The Australian dietary guidelines recommend we eat five serves of veggies a day (see serving size information below).

The real question is why aren’t we? Higher fruit and veggies consumption is associated with a longer, healthier life and reduced risk of death from all causes especially cardiovascular disease.

If you find it tricky to get more veggies into your day, here are some tips to incorporate them into your meals:

  • Try a savoury breakfast – avocado on toast with a side of tomato, wilted spinach and mushrooms.
  • Add salad to your sandwich– a ham and cheese sandwich is even better with tomato, rocket and cucumber.
  • Making pasta? Throw in more some veggies – grilled zucchini, mushrooms, roasted sweet potato or pumpkin all work well.
  • Roast veggies mixed with couscous – simple to prepare, delicious flavours, endless variations.
  • Barbeque – lots of veggies taste amazing on the barbeque – cook them on a steel rack away from the flame to prevent burning – try eggplant, capsicum, mushroom and zucchini.
  • Raw veggies – quick and easy to prepare, serve with dips, cheeses and crackers.
  • Get an adjustable steamer for your saucepan – an easy way to steam whatever veggies you have on hand, serve with olive oil, salt and pepper.
  • Making a spaghetti bolognaise or chicken stew? Chuck in some grated zucchini or carrot and a can of borlotti beans or lentils - you won’t even notice the extra 1-2 serves of veggies.

Sweet potato wedges


500 g sweet potatoes, washed

10ml extra virgin olive oil

½ - 1 tsp of paprika or smoked paprika


  1. Preheat oven to 200°C.
  2. Lightly grease baking tray or line with baking paper.
  3. Cut any blemishes out of potatoes but leave skin on.
  4. Slice sweet potatoes lengthways into wedges approximately 2cm thick.
  5. In a large bowl, mix olive oil and paprika. Add sweet potato wedges and toss to coat.
  6. Place wedges on prepared baking tray.
  7. Bake for 40 minutes, turning once, until golden.


Roast pumpkin, chickpea and feta salad


½ butternut pumpkin, cut into 1`cm cubes

1 tbs extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp cumin

Salt and pepper

1 can chickpeas (no added salt)

¼ Spanish onion, finely diced

3 -4 cups of rocket

100g Marinated feta *


  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees
  2. Toss cubed pumpkin in olive oil, cumin, salt and pepper.
  3. Line tray with baking paper and roast until soft and golden, approximately 30 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
  4. Meanwhile, drain chickpeas in sieve and rinse under cold water and drain again.
  5. Combine chickpeas, onion, cooled pumpkin and rocket in a large salad bowl, mix together until evenly distributed.
  6. Gently stir through crumbed feta.

Serve with grilled fish or chicken.

* If you can’t find marinated feta in the super market, it’s super easy to make your own.

­   Cube some Danish feta and add to jar or bowl.

­   Add a crushed clove of garlic and 1 tsp dried herbs such as thyme, basil or oregano.

­   Cover with extra virgin olive oil.

­   Leave to marinate overnight. Will keep for a couple of weeks if refrigerated and stored in an airtight container.


What’s in a serve of veggies?

A standard serve is approximately 75g or:

  • ½ cup cooked green, red or orange vegetables (for example, broccoli, spinach, capsicum, carrots or pumpkin)
  • 1 medium tomato
  • 1 cup green leafy or raw salad vegetables
  • ½ medium potato or sweet potato
  • ½ cup cooked dried or canned beans, peas or lentils