Just 5% of Victorians getting enough fruit and veg

Tuesday 10 May, 2016

Only 5.1% of Victorians are eating enough fruit and vegetables each day, even though increasing the proportion of Australians consuming the recommended intake of fruit, vegetables and fibre could prevent up to 4% of all cancers.

Findings from the Victorian Population Health Survey found that only 5.1% of Victorians meet the Australian Dietary Guidelines recommendations of 2 serves of fruit and 5 serves of vegetables a day. Vegetables are the biggest concern with 93% of Victorians not eating enough.

Dietitian Alison Ginn says there's some simple ways Victorians can fit more fruit and veg into their diet.

"Fruit and vegetables are packed with fibre, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, are low in kilojoules and filling so can help to maintain a healthy weight. Incredibly, if Australians increased their fibre intake by eating the recommended daily intakes of fruit and vegetables, an estimated 1,293 (8.8%) bowel cancers could be prevented."

Ms Ginn said including vegetables such as cherry tomatoes, carrots and snow peas as a snack can help you reach the recommendations.

The advice comes as Cancer Council Victoria gears up for Australia's Biggest Morning Tea on Thursday 26 May.

Ms Ginn says morning teas don't have to be sugar-laden and veg-free events, but rather a great place for a healthy, and yummy, treat.

"Looking at the colour of your food is a great place to start - my motto is to eat a rainbow! Look for seasonal fruits and vegetables as are they fresher and cheaper - and will look stunning at your morning tea. The more colours you eat, the healthier you will be! " Ms Ginn says.

"Many fruits and vegetables can be included in some of our favourite morning tea favourites such as decedent zucchini slice or carrot and parsnip muffins. This will provide a great benefit in helping your friends and family reach their fruit and veg intake for the day."

Cancer Council Victoria CEO Todd Harper encouraged Victorians to host an Australia's Biggest Morning Tea this May or June to support the 84 people diagnosed with cancer every day.

"The impact that Australia's Biggest Morning Tea supporters have had on cancer outcomes since the event began in 1994 is immense. With their generous support, we have raised more than $27 million for Cancer Council Victoria's research, prevention and support services - helping to increase Victorian cancer survival by almost 20%," Mr Harper said.

"Funds raised will support some of Victoria's brightest cancer researchers as well as our cancer prevention programs and support services for those going through a cancer experience. What better reason is there to raise a cup and enjoy a healthy morning tea with your friends?"

Follow LiveLighter's tips to get to 2 serves of fruit and 5 serves veg everyday:
  • Know your serving size. Knowing how much fruit and vegetables is in a serve is the first step. One serve of fruit is 150 grams of fresh fruit (one medium piece, two small pieces or one cup of chopped fruit). One serve of veg is 75g (½ cup of cooked veg or legumes, ½ medium potato or 1 cup salad vegetables).
  • Enjoy seasonal fruit and vegetables. Seasonal fruit and vegetables are fresher and cheaper, and during summer there is an abundance of colourful and delicious options to enjoy such as apricots, nectarines, cherries, beans, capsicum and corn.
  • Bring healthy food to celebrations. Summer is the perfect time to enjoy juicy watermelon, fresh strawberries and cherries so why not take a summer fruit platter to your next party or barbecue. For healthy recipes visit www.livelighter.com.au/recipes
  • Swap crackers for veggie sticks. Serve raw veggie sticks, like carrot and cucumber with your dip for a healthier alternative to crackers or chips.
  • Top your breakfast cereal with fresh fruit. Chop and add fruits such as banana, pear, apple, mango or kiwifruit to your cereal or add a handful of berries.
  • Veg up your meals. Add mushrooms, asparagus and tomatoes to omelettes or on toast. Add grated veggies to pasta sauces and chopped veggies like pumpkin and peas to casseroles.