Did you know that the MINIMUM daily intake for vegetables is 5 serves a day, and that 1 serve is about 1 cup?
That is 5 cups of vegetables, everyday, day in day out, just to meet your minimum requirements of nutrients and fibre. In addition, the wider the variety of these veggies, the better!
Our clients don’t seem to have any trouble getting their 2 fruits, or their palm-sized protein, and vegetables seem to be their biggest challenge. So, with the help of Jade, our Nutrition Coach, we have put these 5 tips for getting your minimum requirement each day!
- 3 at Lunch. One of the simplest ways of knowing you have “enough” in any one meal is the 3-colour rule. Look at your lunch, is there 3 colours? Is there a full cup of each colour? This may mean that a sandwich, while having enough colour, doesn’t have enough volume, and thereby turns in to a sandwich and salad. A splash of vinegar and olive oil do wonders for a quick salad at work, and will also help you keep hydrated and full in to the afternoon (because of the extra fibre in the veggies and fat in the oil). Another trick to liven up a salad is dukkah – get your favourite mix and sprinkle it over the top for a huge hit of flavour! If you’re still doing lunchboxes, the 3-colour rule makes them look attractive and fun. Even if your child doesn’t end up eating them, persevere – it can take over 16 exposures for a child to accept a new food! If you need help with this, we highly recommend Wholesome Child book by Mandy Sacher.
- 3 at Dinner. For most of you, the 3-colour rule will be easier here. “Meat and 3-Vege” is a concept that most of us understand, and have grown up with. Other ways to play it, especially if you’re a vegetarian is in supercharged salads, packed with nuts, seeds, and vegetable proteins. For the kids, kebabs with protein + veggie 1 + veggie 2 + veggie 3 = balanced meal whether they eat one or fifteen!
- Hide in a smoothie. Whilst not ideal because it chops up the fibre, hiding your veggies in a smoothie is perfect if you drink one or more meals a day. For other people, a sandwich + salad is simply too much food at once, so blending them up in a smoothie that you can sip all afternoon is perfect. Either way, choose a food processor rather than a juicer, so some fibre is still included.
- Snacking plates or snack packs. Most of you will have seen Clare’s snacking plates for her kids over the school holidays, but the truth is that everyone in the family snacks off those plates! There’s usually a blend of protein, treats, fruits, and veggies, and the whole family grazes all day. If you work in an office, having a snack pack full of carrot and cucumber sticks will help tide you over the “I’m ravenous” moments of the day, by having something to hand the minute you realise you’re hungry!
- Preparation – Sorry to say, there’s no way around this. If you’re a plastic-phobe like Clare, you can’t even buy your snack packs pre-chopped (we should all be plastic-phobes, by the way – our dollars will drive change faster than politicians will). Simply put, you’ll have to designate an hour a week or a few minutes a day to chopping veggies, packing them up, and leaving them in the fridge for you to grab at meal times or for snacks. We manage it for our kids every time they have a play-date or a few hours in the car, we can also manage it for ourselves!
Eating the minimum requirement is really important for a healthy hormone balance, for your mental health, and for thriving in this life. Look after yourself!
Clare Hozack is an ex-athlete and owner and founder of IntoYou, Life Enhancement Centre. Clare is currently a Strength and Conditioning Coach, using her skills to return women to functionality after having kids, and providing education for personal trainers in how to train women better for Life. You can learn more about Clare and IntoYou on Facebook and Insta @IntoYouLife. Book a Nutrition Consult (via Zoom or in our Collaroy Plateau Studio) at https://intoyou.setmore.com