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Internationally Acclaimed Nutritional Biochemist, Author & Speaker

5 ways to amp up your vegie intake

There’s one small habit you could do every day that takes very little time, costs very little money and yet brings with it so much energy and vitality. Despite this, less than 10% of adults are actually doing it.

Do you know what it is?

Consuming enough vegetables.

The recommended daily minimum intake of vegetables for adults (and children over the age of nine) is five serves. 1 serve = around 1/2 cup of cooked vegetables or approximately 1 cup of salad. Note the word minimum. That’s five serves just to maintain your health. If you want to experience oodles of energy and give your body what it needs to thrive, I recommend a minimum of seven serves (3 ½ cups) a day of water-based vegetables, in particular leafy greens.

I know that for many of you, eating more vegetables sounds like hard work. If getting to seven serves feels impossible for you right now, simply do what you can to increase your current intake by one more serve. Over time gradually add another serve until bit by bit you make your way up to at least five. And then hopefully seven will feel more achievable.

If you’re looking for some guidance on how to go about this, here are my five top tips to help you get more vegetables into your day.

1. Always order a side of vegies when you eat out

It’s incredible how many restaurants don’t serve vegetables with your food these days! If they do, they are often just a garnish on the side of the plate. To ensure you get your daily intake, order a side of steamed vegies or start with a salad or soup. Even if steamed vegies aren’t on the menu, most restaurants will be happy to make them up for you if you ask.

2. Build your meal around vegetables

When planning your meal, start with which vegetables you’ll eat first and then add your fats, protein and carbohydrates from there. In other words, make the vegetables the hero of your dish rather than a token addition. As a rough guide, you want around 50 percent of your plate to be vegetables and the other 50 percent to be made up of your protein, complex carbohydrates and nourishing fats.

3. Drink your greens

Having an organic green vegie powder drink is an easy way to amp up your vegetable consumption. This is not to replace your vegetable intake though, only to supplement it. Look for a brand that doesn’t have too many ingredients so you get a good dose of a few key ones and their benefits, rather than an insignificant dose of many. You may also like to include a green smoothie or vegie juice to your daily routine as this is another way to drink your greens to boost your daily intake. Try this Berry Energy Smoothie to get your day off to a great start!

4. Add sprouts to salads or stir-fries

Sprouts are incredibly nutrient dense. One of the main reasons plants accumulate nutrients is to develop future seeds so they can reproduce and the species can survive. Seeds require a high density of nutrients to fulfil their reproductive functions. Even once they have germinated, they need a significant amount of energy and nutrition to sprout and survive. This is why sprouts, which are further back in the development phase than a fully formed vegetable, are nutrient-packed powerhouses. Broccoli sprouts in particular rock!

5. Aim to include some vegies with every meal

For too many people, vegetables don’t get a real look in until the end of the day. There might be a token bit of salad in a lunchtime sandwich but it’s not until dinner that vegies are properly considered. Adding vegetables to your breakfast and lunch can help you to meet your daily minimum while also providing you with key nutrients to help sustain energy and focus throughout your day. Try this Extra Green Frittata for breakfast or this Satay Chicken Salad for lunch. Or this Brilliant Brassica Soup is a delicious way to add more greens on those cooler days.

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