Vegetables are sexy: pick right & feel bright.

If anyone follows me on Instagram, you can say I was well and truly active this week. Hashtagging #TryFor5, #Pickrightfeelbright & throwing in the occasional #veggiesaresexy and #allthefibre. Last week was Nutrition Australia‘s National Nutrition Week 2015 & the theme this year was to ‘Pick right, feel bright‘, hence why there was more vegetables and less breakfasts.

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As I have said before, it’s not just about the what we eat, but when and how much we consume. Just as one slice of carrot cake will not poison you, the occasional vegetables on the dinner plate isn’t going to set you up for a bright future. The reality is that Australian’s are not eating enough vegetables. And if there is one thing that is supported by a trolley load of evidence and supported by every diet, it is the health benefits of eating more vegetables.

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So the challenge this year was to Try for 5 & make the pledge to eat more vegetables.

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This week I lunched on roast vegetable packed salads. An easy way to get at least one- two serves in during the day. They went from being well planned to a what’s-left-in-the-fridge-throw-together situation. I cooked a big batch of quinoa on Sunday which I tossed through my salads for the week.

Monday and Tuesday I enjoyed a roast vegetable (pumpkin, capsicum, zucchini), spinach, quinoa & feta salad.

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On wednesday I added some left over roasted brussels sprouts and some pine nuts.

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Thursday was a salad from the previous nights dinner. Lamb, sweet potato, ricotta, asparagus (loving asparagus), spinach & quinoa. Delicious.

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Friday was surprisingly delicious. Wednesday night’s rainbow coleslaw was tossed with spinach, some roast capsicum, zucchini, & sprouts from the night before, some fresh ricotta and a dollop of beetroot hommus.

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Saturday I enjoyed a smashed avocado dish with a generous serve of mushrooms, feta & torn basil on a deliciously seedy toast.

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For dinner, I enjoyed..

Grilled Lamb with herb quinoa & mint pea salad. This delicious recipe was from p.55 October 2015 Healthy Food guide.

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A quick thrown together Lamb, mushroom & green vegetable stir fry.

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On Tuesday morning I forgot to defrost some chicken, so after a day of orientation, I made a much-deserved peanut butter packed satay sauce & made a quick vegetable stir fry with quinoa.

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Wednesday night I made a cauliflower pizza base (November 2014 HFG p.60) and topped it with lamb, sweet potato, ricotta, capsicum, rosemary & rocket. It was really good. I had a rainbow coleslaw on the side. These recipes can be found on page 64 & 62, respectively, in the October 2015 HFG.

Thursday night I tested a Healthy food guide meal for one & whipped up a mustard & lemon chicken (Oct 2015, p. 78). Instead of the cream, I used a dash of milk & added some greek yoghurt at the last minute. I served it with some roast vegetables & blanched greens. It was super easy and delicious.

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I enjoyed a curried chicken, asparagus & ricotta pizza after work Friday. This was a mix of wanting to try the recipe on p.65 of the October HFG & using left overs in the fridge.

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Saturday was a situation of going to the supermarket can be as quick as stopping for take away. I was in and out of Coles in 5 minutes. A roast chicken, bag of lettuce mix, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, capsicum & a cucumber. Mum boiled eggs whilst I was gone & we enjoyed this super quick dinner with our grandparents.

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And lastly, my snacks always included some vegetables. A combination of green beans, carrot, sugar snap peas and/or celery. Sometimes with beetroot hommus or peanut butter, sometimes not. If you struggle to get enough on your plate, chopping up a carrot for the mid-afternoon or the one-hour-before-dinner hunger can be a good tip.

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These weeks are good. Even as a dietitian, they add spark to my life. Whilst getting in my vegetables isn’t generally an issue – I love them! But sometimes I do get in a rut and cook the same things time and time again. This week it inspired me to try new recipes – and really use those healthy food guide magazines I purchase. Maybe working and sleeping in one place also helped too. Having a routine is also so important for health as well.

And now that National Nutrition Week has again come to a close, it doesn’t mean aiming for those vegetables needs to stop also. The reality is that we need this to continue. How did you go this week? Maybe you only managed to meet the five once or twice, but maybe that’s more than normal. Maybe you just managed one extra serve per day.

But hey, that’s a really good start.

Change takes time. Just as we learn to tie our shoelaces, as we learn to do long division, as we learn to drive a manual car, and as we learn the new patient management system at work. It doesn’t happen overnight. We need to consciously make the decision to add in a vegetable snack or make sure vegetables are on our dinner plates and in our lunchboxes every day. Do this for a while, and eventually it will become a habit.

Vegetables are sexy.

Emma xo

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