Current evidence suggests that the healthiest type of diet is one with a significant amount of plant foods. Increased vegetable intake reduces the risk of many chronic diseases including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and certain cancers. Eating the recommended amount of veggies is necessary to meet your nutritional requirements which is essential for optimal body function. High vegetable intake significantly improves gut health which is associated with also improving brain health, immunity and weight maintenance. If Australians met the fruit and veggie guidelines, it is estimated that approx. $270million could be saved due to health care costs. Plant based diets are the most sustainable for the environment. ½ cup cooked vegetables = 1 serve 1 cup raw salad vegetables = 1 serve 1/2 cup legumes = 1 serve 1 medium potato, sweet potato or starchy vegetable = 1 serve We all know that eating veggies is part of the healthy eating guidelines, however 96% of Australian adults do not meet these recommendations for vegetable intake. As a Nutritionist I believe that education around WHY and also exactly HOW MANY vegetables we need to be consuming is important, but what really makes a difference is showing you how to cook and use veggies in a way that isn’t boring or bland but instead super delicious and satisfying. It really is possible to love your veggies, you just need to let them be the hero of your meals So first let’s cover some basics, why do we need to eat veggies? How many veggies should we be eating? The Australian Healthy Eating Guidelines suggest 5 serves of vegetables per day and here is what makes up one serve; There is one caveat to this guideline however; variety is important! It’s not just about getting 5 serves per day (minimum!) but about including a diverse range of vegetables as well. This is particularly important for our gut health. Variety in the food we eat equals variety in our gut microbes and we know that a diverse range of gut microbes is associated with improved health. In fact the research shows that those who eat 30 different plant foods per week have been shown to have more diverse gut microbes than people who eat less than 10 plant foods per week. Plant foods also refers to fruits, wholegrains, legumes, nuts and seeds but this highlights the importance of trying to get variety in your 5 serves of vegetables per day. How to eat more veggies? The Mediterranean dietary principles which highlight an abundance of fresh vegetables is a great place to start but it can also be as simple as aiming for half of your bowl/plate to be vegetables at every meal of the day (if you don’t get it in at breakfast try snacks as an opportunity to get more veggies in). This E-book contains some of my favourite recipes where vegetables are made the hero and hopefully it shows you how delicious and satisfying veggie packed meals can be!