How to get more fruit and veg in your diet

Created with the Heart Foundation
colourful fruit and vegetables

Keeping your ticker ticking

A heart healthy diet is built around a wide variety of foods – and one of the key components is lots of vegetables and fruit. In fact, most people* should aim to eat at least five serves of vegetables and two serves of fruit every day [2] – but what does a serve actually look like? 

Fruit 

  • 1 medium apple, banana, orange or pear 
  • 2 small apricots, plums, kiwi fruit 
  • 1 cup of diced/canned fruit (no syrup) 
  • ½ cup (125ml) juice (drink only occasionally) 
  • 30g (small handful) of dried fruit (eat only occasionally). 

Vegetables 

  •  ½ cup of cooked vegetables 
  • 1 cup of raw or salad vegetables 
  • ½ cup of sweetcorn 
  • ½ medium potato, sweet potato, and other starchy vegetables 
  • ½ cup of cooked peas, beans or lentils. 

Getting your five and two 

Five serves of veggies and two serves of fruit might sound like a lot, but it’s actually pretty easy (and tasty!) once you get started. 

Here are some ideas to get more fruit and veg into your diet:

  • Combine fresh, frozen, canned and dried options: Fresh fruit and veg is often considered best, but canned vegetables can be just as good for you – just make sure they don’t contain added salt and sugar. 
  • Make veggies the star of the show: Add an extra serve of veg or a side salad to each main meal. Try adding grated vegetables, such as carrot or zucchini to sauces.  You can also swap out meat and poultry for legumes like beans, peas and lentils. 
  • Get chopping! Spend a few minutes in the morning cutting up fruit and veg for easy snacking between meals. Keep them in an air-tight container in the fridge. 
  • Add some salad: Having a sandwich for lunch? Add some lettuce, tomato or carrot for a healthy boost or experiment with spinach leaves tomato and finely chopped onion and mushroom on your favourite toasted sandwich.
  • Eat what’s in season: Eating seasonally is good for your body, your wallet and the planet – fruit and vegetables that are in season are often fresher, cheaper and better for the environment. 
  • Fill half your plate: Try adding three different-coloured vegetables to your dinner every night and make sure they cover at least half your plate. Make breakfast a fruit feast: Chopped fresh or frozen fruit goes perfectly with cereal porridge and unflavoured yoghurt. 
  • Pack it in when you’re dining out: Order vegetable-based pasta sauces or pizza toppings or choose a stir-fry with a mix of colourful ingredients. You can also order a side salad or vegetables with your meal – the more greens, the better.  
  • Make fruit your go-to: Hungry? Rather than reaching for a bag of chips or chocolate bar, try to eat more fresh or frozen berries. Pair them with unflavoured yoghurt for an extra tasty snack. 
  • Add a handful: Add fresh or frozen vegetables and legumes to your pasta dishes, soups or casseroles. Try adding grated vegetables, such as carrot or zucchini to sauces. 

Keep it colourful  

Different coloured fruit and veg contain different types of nutrients. Each week try to ‘eat the rainbow’ by choosing from a range of colour groups. Here are some ideas:

corn, pumpkins and carrots

Orange and red

  • Corn
  • Pumpkin
  • Mandarins
  • Sweet potato
  • Nectarines
  • Oranges
  • Capsicum
  • Bananas
  • Carrot

Tomatoes, apples and strawberries

Red

  • Tomato
  • Strawberries
  • Apples
  • Capsicums
  • Raspberries

Cherries, grapes and beetroot

Purple and blue

  • Eggplant
  • Blueberries
  • Plums
  • Beetroot
  • Purple cabbage
  • Purple carrots

Broccoli, lettuce and cucumber

Green

  • Peas
  • Cucumber
  • Grapes
  • Apples
  • Kiwi fruit
  • Lettuce
  • Baby spinach
  • Beans
  • Broccoli

Onion, mushroom, cauliflower

Brown and white

  • Potato
  • Cauliflower
  • Cabbage 
  • Mushroom
  • Onion

* Children, pregnant women or breastfeeding mothers may need more or less.

References:

1. ABS (2018) 4364.0.55.001 - National Health Survey: First Results, 2017-18  - FRUIT AND VEGETABLE CONSUMPTION Accessed: https://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/by%20Subject/4364.0.55.001~2017-18~Main%20Features~Fruit%20and%20vegetable%20consumption~105

2. NHMRC (2013) Australian Dietary Guidelines. https://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/


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Coles has partnered with the Heart Foundation to provide this content to you and help Australians live healthier and happier lives.

For personalised heart health information and support, contact the Heart Foundation Helpline 13 11 12.

 

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