Nutrition Matters: Try for 5 this week!

According to new figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), Australian adults consume on average 2.7 serves of vegetables each day, rather than the 5 serves recommended by the 2013 Australian Dietary Guidelines. Less than 4 per cent of the population consumed enough vegetables and legumes or beans each day.

What is a serve of vegetables? 75g or equivalent to…

  • ½ cup of cooked vegetables or cooked legume
  • ½ medium potato
  • 1 cup salad vegetables
  • ½ cup cooked legumes (dried beans, peas, lentils)

Eating a mix of different coloured fruit and veggies (including different types and colours) and legumes (such as soybeans, peas and lentils) provides your body with a range of vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals, as well as carbohydrates, dietary fibre and water for good health. Evidence shows that people who regularly eat diets high in vegetables, fruit and legumes have a lower risk of developing certain health conditions, such as coronary heart disease, stroke, and cancer and Type 2 diabetes.

5 vegetables from the 5 colour groups to get you on track this week

Monday – Yellow & Orange



(Butternut, gem squash, golden nugget, ironbark, Japanese and orange minikin)

Why I am good to you: Vitamin C, folate, potassium and carotenoids (beta-carotene, lutein).

Supports healthy growth and development, muscle function and a reduction in tiredness and fatigue.

Store – at room temperature when whole or wrap cut pieces in cling film and refrigerate.

Use – soups, casseroles, curries, pasta, rice and vegetable side dishes. Pumpkin seeds (pepitas) are a rich source of Magnesium, Zinc and Protein.

How to cook me – Boil for 8-10 minutes, steam until tender (approximately 15 minutes) or microwave in a covered dish on HIGH for 5-6 minutes stirring after 4 minutes.

Other yellow and oranges we love – Carrots, orange capsicum, orange lentils, sweet potato, sweet corn, and button squash, yellow capsicum, yellow tomatoes, yellow zucchini.

Tuesday – Red



Botanically a fruit but used as a vegetable.

Why I am good to you: contain fibre, potassium, vitamin C, A, E and phytochemicals; lycopene, anthocyanins, flavonoids and saponins.

Lycopene; the bright red carotenoid (phytochemical) in tomatoes has significant antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and is associated with reduced risk of prostate cancer. It is one of many phytochemicals thought to be important in reducing cancer risk and may protect against cardiovascular disease, diabetes and neurological diseases.

Select – bright coloured and blemish free.

Store – At room temperature away from direct sunlight to allow for natural ripening – store in refrigerator to avoid over-ripening.

Use – Salads, sandwiches, soups, curries, side dishes, sauces and dressings.

How to cook me – Raw or cooked for 2-30 minutes. Raw tomatoes are a significant source of Vitamin C whilst Research reveals that the beneficial trans-lycopene content of cooked tomatoes increases respectively with increased cooking time.

Other Reds we love – Red capsicum, red kidney beans, radishes, red cabbage, red chillies, red skin potato, red skin sweet potato, red onion, rhubarb.

Wednesday – Blue and Purple



Why I am good to you: high in antioxidants (due to the phenolic compounds).

Select – Choose firm, plump beets.

Store – Refrigerate in an airtight container with tops intact.

Use – Salads, roasts and vegetable side dishes such as dips.

Juice it too! Research suggests that beetroot juice (nitrate) reduced blood pressure and positively influenced exercise performance by allowing more blood and oxygen to be delivered to muscles. Tip: Handle with the aid of disposable gloves to preventing staining hands.

How to cook me – Leave the skin on while cooking. Grate raw into a salad, boil or steam for approximately 50 minutes, microwave on HIGH for 30 minutes or roast with other root vegetables for 45-60 minutes.

Other blue and purples we love – Eggplant, purple cabbage, purple carrot, purple kale, purple onion, radicchio.

Thursday – Green



(Common and cathedral)

Why I am good to you: Contains vitamin C, vitamin K, folic acid, Iron and carotenoids. Enhances immune and nervous system, skin health and may prevent some cancers.

Select – tight compact heads with blue/green colour.

Store – refrigerate in an airtight bag or container.

Use – In salads, stir-fries, mash, vegetable side-dishes and frittatas.

How to cook me – Steam or boil (4-7mins depending n on size). Microwave on HIGH in a covered dish with 2 TBSP water for 4-5 minutes until tender, Stir half way through to ensure even cooking.

Other greens we love – Asparagus, green beans, celery, spinach, Asian greens, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, green capsicum, cucumber, globe artichokes, green herbs, green kale, leeks, avocado, lettuce, green zucchini.

Friday – Brown and white



Why I am good to you: At less than $1 a serve (100g or 3 mushrooms) mushrooms provides 20% of your daily needs for each of the B vitamins; riboflavin, niacin, Pantothenic acid, biotin and minerals; selenium and copper. Whilst also high in protein, cholesterol free, virtually fat free and providing good amounts of folate and potassium.

Select – fresh, firm and colour, if I am withered I am aged.

Store – In a brown paper bag in refrigerator crisper, avoid plastic.

Prepare – Wipe with a damp cloth. If clean and undamaged do not require peeling – Vit D.

Use – Fresh in salads, pasta, casseroles, soups, stir-fries, grills, barbeques, risotto, and stuffing’s.

How to cook me – Casseroles, soups, stir-fries, grill, barbeque, risotto, pasta and stuffing’s.

Other browns and whites we love – Brown lentils, artichoke, potato, swede, cauliflower, fennel, bulb garlic, ginger, leeks, white and brown onion, parsnip, shallots, taro, yams, turnips, water chestnuts, white beans (cannellini, lima, navy, soybeans).

Spotscreen has a range of engaging and informative nutrition based programs to help employees develop a more positive relationship with healthy eating. We encourage you to implement a nutrition program to generate awareness and a healthy eating culture in your workplace. Bookings are limited! So contact us now to secure your booking.

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1. National Health and Medical Research Council, 2013, Australian Dietary Guidelines. Canberra: Australian Government.

Author: Spotscreen
Spotscreen is Australia’s leading onsite skin cancer screening and corporate health provider, focussing on providing the highest quality of specialised onsite health programs for your workplace and local community.

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