It’s National Nutrition Week! This year’s campaign, Try for 5, aims to raise awareness of the importance of consuming five serves of vegetables every day. One of our awesome Dietitians, Chelsea, shares her experiences and top tips for getting your five serves every day.
Chelsea is a Dietitian in our Specialist Travel and Telehealth Team, which is part of our Disability Services here at The Benevolent Society. For three years, Chelsea has been supporting her clients to make healthier choices to improve their quality of life.
Chelsea says she loves how small changes and strategies can make a life changing impact on clients, carers, and families.
“Particularly those in rural and remote locations who have difficulties accessing services due to limited-service providers and long wait times,” explains Chelsea.
Five serves a day
It can be hard for some people to eat five serves of vegetables every day, particularly those who have sensory challenges whether it be taste, colour or texture.
“Clients in the disability sector can also have higher energy requirements and can be at risk of unintentional weight loss, meaning the priority for these clients is high energy dense foods,” says Chelsea.
“It’s important to consume plenty of vegetables, including different types and colours, and legumes as they are super rich in different nutrients which are linked to various health benefits.”
“Take green leafy vegetables, for example, these are usually high in folate. And starchy vegetables are a great source of complex carbohydrates, which can keep you fuller for longer. Non-starchy vegetables have a low energy density when compared to other foods, due to their high water content. Legumes provide a valuable and cost-efficient source of protein, iron, some essential fatty acids, soluble and insoluble dietary fibre.”
Chelsea’s top tips
When we asked Chelsea what her top tips are for getting your five serves of veggies are, she said:
“The best way is to incorporate the five serves into each meal. For example, add some tomatoes to your breakfast, add some carrot sticks to your snacks, put some lettuce on your sandwich at lunch. The little bits add up throughout the day. Alternatively, you could try being creative with your vegetables. Make your own tomato base for your pasta sauce, add some cauliflower to your cheese sauce.
“Please remember for children, especially those that face sensory challenges, the process will be slow and cannot be forced. Adding hidden vegetables can break trust and lead to the child not eating a meal they previously enjoyed. Start slowly, offering the vegetable on the side of the plate not touching other foods – it can take over 10 exposures for a child to be happy to even have that food item (in this case the vegetable) on their plate.”
A balanced diet that incorporates all five food groups not only provides a variety of flavours and textures, but it also offers a range of nutrients, which play a vital role in helping the body function. Particularly vegetables, legumes and fruit which help protect your body from illness.
Chelsea’s Mini Crustless Quiche Recipe
These mini crustless quiches will boost your veggie intake today!
• 6 large eggs
• 1/2 cup milk
• 1/2 cup diced tomatoes
• 1 cup baby spinach
• 1/2 cup diced capsicum
• 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
• 1/2 cup diced onion
• 1/2 cup chopped zucchini
• 1/4 tsp. ground pepper
• 1/2 cup low fat grated cheese
1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees C
2. In a large bowl whisk the eggs and milk until eggs are broken up. Stir in the rest of the ingredients.
3. Grease a metal cupcake tin and pour the mixture into each cup filling it ¾ of the way.
4. Bake in the oven for 17 minutes or until knife inserted comes out clean.
To find our more about our Disability Services and Nutrition Services, head to our page on Diet Therapy and Nutritional Support or call us on 1800 236 762.