Fruit and vegetables should be an important part of your daily diet
Fruit and vegetables should be an important part of your daily diet. They are naturally good and contain vitamins and minerals that can help to keep you healthy. They can also help protect against some diseases.
Most Australians will benefit from eating more fruit and vegetables as part of a well-balanced, regular diet and a healthy, active lifestyle. There are many varieties of fruit and vegetables available and many ways to prepare, cook and serve them.
You should eat at least five serves of vegetables and two serves of fruit each day. Choose different colours and varieties.
A serve of vegetables is about one cup of raw salad vegetables or 1/2 cup of cooked.
A serve of fruit is about one medium piece, 2 small pieces of 1 cup canned (no added sugar).
Preparation and cooking of fruit and vegetables
Vegetables are often cooked, although some kinds are eaten raw. Cooking and processing can damage some nutrients and phytochemicals in plant foods.
Suggestions to get the best out of your fruit and vegetables include:
Eat raw vegetables and fruits if possible.
Try fruit or vegetables pureed into smoothies.
Use a sharp knife to cut fresh fruits to avoid bruising.
Cut off only the inedible parts of vegetables – sometimes the best nutrients are found in the skin, just below the skin or in the leaves.
Use stir-fry, grill, microwave, bake or steam methods with non-stick cookware and mono-unsaturated oils.
Do not overcook, to reduce nutrient loss.
Serve meals with vegetable pestos, salsas, chutneys and vinegars in place of sour cream, butter and creamy sauces.
Some nutrients such as carotenoids may actually be increased if food is cooked. For example, tomato has more carotenoids, especially lycopene, when it is cooked – a good reason to prepare fruits and vegetables in a variety of ways.
Once you’ve prepared and cooked your vegetables and fruit, spend some time on presentation. People are more likely to enjoy a meal if it’s full of variety and visually appealing, as well as tasty. Sit at the table to eat and enjoy your food without distractions like television.