Tips to increase your fruit and vegetable intake

As a naturopath, I believe that each person has different needs from their food intake according to their age, lifestyle, ability to absorb nutrients, and individual requirements; however there are guidelines that apply to each of us.

  • The food that we eat needs to be nutritious, delicious and fresh. 

  • Eat real food - Avoid food out of a packet. 

  • Avoid the white refined foods – white flour, white sugar, white rice, etc. 

  • If it has been alive and grown, then eat it.  If it has not, then don’t. 

  • Real food, not too much, consistent intake across the day. 

  • Balanced and varied, and breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

Hippocrates said “Let Food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food”.

Fruit and vegetables are not only filled with essential vitamins, minerals and fibre, but also contain phytochemicals, which protect us from chronic disease states.  These foods provide the body with powerful antioxidants and protect us against cancer.

It is recommended we include 5 serves of vegetables and 2 serves of fruit daily, and more is better, but this is a good place to start. 

Different coloured fruits and veges contain more phytochemicals.  Embrace the concept of eating a rainbow every day will help to include these important nutrients. The phytochemicals contain pigments which give the foods their colour, and provide considerably greater protection against cancer than the vitamins and minerals alone.

Some people find it challenging to include fruit and vegetables in their diet on a daily basis. Try these tips to bring your intake up and support your health on a daily basis.

  • Buy different kinds of fruits and vegetables when you are shopping to ensure you have variety on hand.

  • Frozen vegetables are also okay.  Have a variety in your freezer for when you are in a hurry.

  • Keep fruit and veges in an easy to see location to remind you to eat them

  • Add fruit to breakfast cereal, or spinach, mushroom and tomato to cooked breakfast

  • Make your plate at least 50% salad or vegetables

  • Add extra veges to things that may be meat based eg. Add grated carrot and zucchini to spaghetti bolognaise, or lots of veges to stir fries.

  • Choose fresh fruit for desserts

  • Have frozen berries on hand to add to breakfast or desserts

  • Try cauliflower rice or zucchini pasta as alternatives to normal rice and pasta

  • Swap bread for lettuce wraps

  • Dip veggies like celery, carrots, capsicum and broccoli into healthy fats like hummus or guacamole to make them tastier.