Fruit and vegetables

Fruit and vegetables are an essential part of a healthy, balanced diet. Research has found a probable link between eating non-starchy vegetables and fruit and a reduced risk of aerodigestive cancers (includes mouth, throat, pharynx, nasopharynx, oesophagus, lung, stomach and bowel cancers).

Fruits and vegetables are a great source of nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and dietary fibre. There is probable evidence that eating foods containing dietary fibre reduces the risk of bowel cancer. Fruits and vegetables also play an important role in maintaining a healthy body weight.

Adults should eat at least 2 serves of fruit and 5 serves of vegetables every day.

Green apples

A serve of fruit is 150g:

  • 1 medium piece, for example an apple, banana, orange or pear
  • 2 small pieces, for example apricots, kiwi fruit or plums
  • 1 cup of diced fruit or canned fruit

Or only occasionally (1-2 times per week)

  • 1 ½ tablespoons of sultanas or 4 dried apricot halves
  • ½ cup (125ml) of 100% fruit juice

Salad vegetables

A serve of vegetables is 75g:

  • ½  cup of cooked vegetables
  • ½  cup cooked legumes, such as lentils, chickpeas, split peas, dried or canned beans
  • 1 cup of salad vegetables
  • ½  potato

Tips to help you eat more fruit and vegetables every day:

  • Include fresh fruit and vegetables on your regular shopping list
  • Use frozen, dried or canned fruit and vegetables for convenience or if fresh is not available. Choose canned vegetables that have no added salt and fruit canned in natural juice rather than syrup
  • Enjoy fruit as a snack or for dessert
  • Add fresh or canned fruit (in natural juice) as a topping to breakfast cereal
  • Fill half your plate with vegetables
  • AIm for three different coloured vegetables in every main meal
  • Include salad with your lunch
  • Cook vegetables in different ways, such as oven roasting, grilling or steaming
  • Adapt your recipes to include more vegetables; for example add grated carrot and zucchini or chopped up peas and mushrooms to pasta sauce and stir-fries
  • Try a new fruit or vegetable each week
  • Cook up a batch of vegetable soup at the end of the week to use up leftover vegetables
  • Choose vegetable sticks (such as carrot, celery and cucumber) with vegetable-based dips (such as hummus and tzatziki) as a snack
  • Add grated vegetables or fruit to muffin, pancake and cake mixtures
  • Bring fruit along in your bag so you have a snack ready when hunger strikes

Some ideas to include more legumes in your diet:

  • Have some legume-based meals each week. Legumes include baked beans, peas, beans, lentils and chickpeas. Legumes can also be added to dishes such as casseroles, soups or salads
  • Add chickpeas and beans to salads, soups, stir-fries, pasta sauces and casseroles
  • Try vegetable lentil soups
  • Make healthy dips from pureed cooked white beans or chickpeas (hummus)
  • Try lentil burgers as an alternative to meat
  • Add baked beans to toast, toasted sandwiches and baked potatoes
  • Blend red beans to use as a pancake filling

For more tips and great recipes to add more fruit and vegies into your day visit LiveLighter