Here is your challenge: consume 5 serves of vegetable every day for the month of February. The health benefits of vegetables are undisputed but only a small minority of Australians eat the recommended amount of vegetables every day. In fact, clients that I train that are overweight or obese rarely get even half of that amount. This is one of the first interventions I recommend for anyone looking to lose weight – but it is something that everyone can benefit from regardless of their weight.
I’m going to break this challenge into 2 groups: the first is for those who would like to consume 5 serves of vegetables every day and think that it is achievable. I recommend that this is best for people who already have a habit of eating vegetables but don’t quite get their 5 serves per day. The second is for those that only get 1-2 serves of vegetables per day. This will be a gradual progression across February.
So how much is a serve of vegetables and how do I get my 5 serves? The answer is that it is variable but here is a very good guide:
1/2 Cup broccoli, cauliflower, carrots or pumpkin
1/2 Cup beans, peas, beetroot or lentils (yes, legumes count as veggies under the Australian Guidelines)
1 Full Cup of lettuce, rocket, kale, spinach
1 Medium sized potato
1 Medium sized tomato
Of course there are so many vegetables it is impossible to list them all here. If you are unsure about a vegetable and it’s serving size try and match it up for size/shape/colour with the list above and it will give you a very good guide.
Group 1 Challenge: consume 5 serves of vegetables every day of February. You can’t consume the same vegetable twice on the same day. It must be 5 separate vegetables.
E.g. 1/2 Cup asparagus, 1 medium tomato, 1 medium cucumber, 1 medium capsicum, 1 Cup of cos lettuce.
Group 2 Challenge: consume 3 serves of vegetables every day from 1st to 10th February, 4 serves of vegetables every day from 11th to 20th February, 5 serves of vegetables from 21st to 28th February. You can’t consume the same vegetable twice on the same day. You can repeat the same vegetables every day but remember the higher the level of variety, the greater range of nutrients you are feeding your body.
So if you would like to improve your healthy in a vast range of areas and in particular reduce your risk of the biggest killers in Australia: cardiovascular disease and cancer, please take up the challenge.
If you aren’t used to eating 5 serves of vegetables, you will need to work very hard. I recommend you start by making a plan for yourself and get buy-in from your friends and loved ones. Why not start by sharing this article with them on Facebook or twitter and let them know of your intentions to take on the challenge? Use the links below to share.
P.S. I want to know how you go! Please send me ideas, recipes, pictures, updates and notable health changes based on your experiences. Good luck!
For more information visit: https://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/food-essentials/five-food-groups/vegetables-and-legumes-beans for information and recipe ideas.