So last Wednesday the Australian Bureau of Statistics released some new results from the National Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey 2011-12. This report is the first to compare Aussie’s food group consumption against the dietary guideline recommendations. And how did we do?
Most Australians fail to meet the minimum number of serves of the five food groups from non-discretionary choices.
(…and people think the dietary guidelines are the problem of our ill health. Goodness. Who are these fruit loops? Surely we have more than enough of those in the world. Pun intended.)
Anyway, you know what’s funny?
I tell anyone that listens that only about 8% of us are eating enough vegetables, and if there is one thing we can do to improve our health, it’s eat a bloody carrot.
But this report showed that overall, Australians aged two years and over consumed an average of 2.7 serves of vegetables and legumes/beans per day, with less than 4% of the population meeting the recommended number of serves (which is 5).
Less than 4%.
Come on guysssssssssss. We know veggies are good for us.
But look, I do get it. It is hard to eat 5 serves of vegetables per day.
Which brings me to the point of this well overdue blog post.
Snacking on vegetables.
I love to do it. Green beans, carrot sticks, celery sticks, cherry tomatoes (don’t even think about getting political correct here), baby corn, asparagus spears, snow peas, sugar snap peas…
And I have five good reasons why you should consider it too.
1. The odds are you are in the 96% of the population who could do with an extra serve of vegetables.
2. Sometimes life gets in the way and you can’t get your vegetable serves in at dinner. Especially if you are going out for thai or other carbohydrate/protein heavy dinners. Vegetables are a low kilojoule, fibre packed snack which will manage your hunger and balance out your dinner.
3. Research from Psychology & Marketing found that individuals that consumed samples of healthy food prior to shopping lead to increased purchases of similar foods. So by simply snacking on some carrots mid-afternoon or post-work could lead to a basket full of vegetables when you do your shopping later.
4. I know that individual’s snack choices can be an issue and the reason they see the kilos creep or the pre-dinner starvation. When you snack on vegetables, you need to chew. Like, really chew. You just can’t scoff them down. (I promise you – scoffing down chopped carrots during clinical placement nearlly killed me. Just imagine, ‘Emma Stubbs – killed by a carrot’). You are forced to slow down and thus, you may feel satisfied earlier.
5. And lastly, hommus. That stuff isn’t just for crackers. Plus, chickpeas count as a vegetable too.