Five things you should eat more of

15 Apr 2016

As dieticians, rather than focusing on what you shouldn’t eat, we like to encourage people to eat more of the good stuff. So if you’re planning a bit of a lifestyle shake up, try focusing on the things you should be eating more of.

Vegetables:

Did you know that only 6 per cent of the Australian population eat the recommended serves of vegetables per day?! Vegetables are a major source of essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and dietary fibre.  They’re also low in calories, which helps with weight management. Try and fit at least five serves per day into your diet. This is easier to achieve if you spread your intake throughout the day. Why not consider adding veggies to your breakfast, such as beans, tomato or avocado on toast?

Wholegrains:

Carbs are not the enemy! Despite what you may have heard from celebrities and social media, whole grains are an essential part of the diet.  Studies have shown that people who include whole grains in their diet have a lower risk of heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers. What matters is the quality - choose whole grains like quinoa, barley, soba noodles, frekkah, polenta or wholegrain cous cous.

Whole fresh fruit:

Forget about your blender or overpriced commercial juices, eating a piece of whole fruit is the way to go. Fresh fruit is packed full of goodness, including essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.  Eating the fruit whole gives you a dietary fibre boost that is lacking in juice.  Remember one cup of fruit juice contains double the amount of calories as a piece of whole fruit without the same nutritional benefits. Aim for two pieces of fruit per day.

Good oils:

Not all oils are created equal.  When it comes to reducing your risk of chronic diseases, mono and poly unsaturated fats are a clear winner.  Extra virgin olive oil is a versatile choice as it can be used in cooking and in dressings.  Nuts and seeds are jammed packed with healthy oils and other nutrients, making a great snack option. Avocado is a delicious addition to salads as well as a great alternative to butter as a spread. Don’t forget about trying to get two serves of oily fish in per week such as salmon, mackerel or sardines which are a major source of essential omega-3 fats. 

Pulses:

Did you know it’s the year of the pulse? Legumes and lentils are an excellent source of plant based protein and dietary fibre. They’re also cheap and super versatile, making for a great foundation to any meal. To try and increase your intake of legumes, why not try these suggestions:

  • Use hummus as a spread. Try making your own by using our easy recipe below.
  • Substitute red kidney beans for mince when making burritos or tacos.
  • Add lentils or cannellini beans to soups and casseroles. 
  • Add a small can of three bean mix to your lunchtime salads
  • Baked beans on toast is an oldie but a goodie. Try making your own with a can of beans, tomatoes and flavour it up with your favourite herbs and spices.
  • Consider trying vegetarian dishes such as Indian dahl.

Homemade Hummus Recipe

1x 400g can chickpeas, drained

2 tablespoons of tahini paste

Juice of 1 lemon

2 cloves garlic

2 tablespoons olive oil

Optional flavourings: Cumin, smoked paprika, dried chilli, dukkah.

Place all ingredients in a blender and add water as needed to achieve desired consistency.

 

Authored by: Your helpful St Vincent's Dietetics team. Visit our page here to learn more about us.