How many serves of fruits and veggies do you manage to get in each day?
The New Zealand healthy eating guidelines encourage 5+ serves a day - 2 serves of fruit and 3 of vegetables. A serve is generally what fits into the palm of your hand, and weighs ~80g. Sounds pretty easy but only 40% of New Zealanders are reaching this guideline so as a nation we're clearly not eating nearly enough fruit and veggies..
So what about other countries around the world? Our Australian neighbours aim to eat 7 serves each day while Japan encourages its population to aim for 9 servings a day, as does Greece. Canada has different recommendations depending on if you're male or female but in general suggests 7-10 serves each day.
Perhaps we're aiming the bar a little too low in NZ and a more ambitious goal may motivate us to do better? Well designed scientific studies have shown increased fruit and veggie intakes have loads of health benefits - reduced rates of heart disease, stroke, cancers, depression and overall rates of premature death. Various studies have shown that an intake of 10+ serves of fruit and veggies helps protects us from a range of lifestyle diseases, and could be a great goal for us to work towards.
So what does 10 serves of fruit and veggies look like? You can use your palm to measure it out, or get out your scales from the back of the kitchen cupboard...800g is equivalent to 10 serves. As you can see from the photo above (which is roughly equivalent to 10 serves by the time you deduct the weight of orange peel, apple core, onion skin etc) it actually isn't a massive amount. We can do this!
For those that think it will increase their grocery bill...to manage costs you can eat seasonally, forage for feijoas/mandarins/apples, have a veggie garden and you'll be pleasantly surprised. Also remember that frozen, dried and canned fruits and vegetables all count towards your daily intake too.
The message may not be uber trendy or glamorous, but upping our fruit and veggie intake is one of the most positive things we can do nutritionally. So who will join us in aiming for 10+ a day - perhaps you can even get your friends, family and workmates on board? Let us know how you get on :)