Fruit and vegetables are packed with goodness and help keep you healthy.
Key points about fruit and vegetables
- Eating enough fruit and vegetables can help prevent heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure and some cancers.
- In Aotearoa New Zealand, many people don't eat enough fruit and vegetables for their mental and physical health and wellbeing.
- Women should eat at least 5 servings of vegetables and 2 servings of fruit a day, and men should eat 6 servings of vegetables and 2 of fruit each day.
- It is healthier to have more non-starchy vegetables than starchy vegetables on your plate.
- If you're not eating enough fruit and vegetables, make small changes over time to add more into your day to day eating.
Tips for eating more fruit and vegetables every day
- Add chopped fresh fruit or canned fruit (in juice) to your breakfast cereal or to a smoothie for breakfast.
- For a hot breakfast option, add tomatoes and mushrooms to scrambled or poached eggs.
- Fill sandwiches, rolls and pita breads with salad fillings together with meat or cheese for lunch.
- Use up leftover roast vegetables by adding to a salad for lunch, eg, with some spinach leaves, chopped tomatoes and canned lentils or chickpeas to add some protein.
- Make vegetables the main event – plan your meals around in-season vegetables and add your protein and grain foods as a side.
- Hiding vegetables in meals can be a good idea for adults and children! Add grated carrot and finely chopped vegetables or diced frozen vegetables to mince dishes, casseroles and soups.
- Grated fruit and vegetables like courgettes, carrots and apples can be added to fritters and patties.
- Chop up some vegetables and keep them in a container in the fridge so they are an easy go-to snack.
- Stock the house with the types of fruit and vegetables you know you’ll eat – that way you don’t end up with a bowl of rotting apples when you really prefer bananas.
- To try something new. Choose 1 or 2 pieces of a new fruit or vegetable when they’re on special and see if you like them.
- For a hearty winter meal make vegetable soup – this is a great way to up your vegetable intake and save time and money.
- If you prefer raw vegetables to cooked, eat them as a snack or lightly stir-fry them for dinner.
Go easy on fruit juice and dried fruit
- Fruit juice is a high sugar drink due to the amount of fruit needed to make one glass. It is best to eat fresh fruit and drink plain water instead of drinking fruit juice.
- Dried fruit has had all the water removed so it can be very high in sugar and it can stick to teeth (like lollies) so can increase the risk of cavities. It is best to limit dried fruit.