So much is written about food and fads it’s easy to forget common sense. Different short-term diets will work for different people. But for an enduring, long-term solution you can’t go past basic nutrients from products close to their natural sources. The Ministry of Health in New Zealand recommends that adults eat at least five servings of vegetables and two of fruit daily. The World Health Organisation recommends a minimum of 400g of fruit and vegetables per day (excluding potatoes and other starchy tubers).
In the short term, vegetables and fruit provide nutrients and hydration for a burst of energy. Fibre helps regulate appetite and blood sugar levels, minimizing cravings for treat foods. In the longer term, the fibre improves digestive health and helps prevent against bowel cancer, heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Fresh foods enhance your gut health which helps with mood, sleep, nutrient absorption and immunity.
Top tip one is to keep it fresh – try out an ongoing stream of new recipes with seasonal produce. Encourage family members to name the best vegetable and weekly or monthly try out a new recipe featuring the favourite. It may need to be a side dish rather than a main meal if you want to keep the carnivores on board. If possible, take a trip to a farmer’s market to get the best possible version of your vegetable star.
Top tip two is to try out new types of frozen and canned vegetables. These can often be just as healthy if they’re picked and paused at their freshest. Getting some nutrients from your pantry and freezer can help you maintain a wide variety of nutrients. We’re often encouraged to “eat the rainbow” as each pigment of plant is linked to specific nutrients and health benefits. Just check the label to make sure that your product isn’t packed with sugar, salt and oil.
The trouble with high nutrient, plant-based foods is that they often tend to be not very convenient to eat. But nutrients are necessary for your short term energy and your long term physical and mental health so the advance planning is worth it. A high nutrient diet is an important next stage on your upward spiral of wellness.
This article provides general health and wellbeing information. It is not intended to be medical or nutritional advice specific to you. Please consult an appropriate healthcare professional, such as your GP, a registered dietitian or nutritionist for any specific concerns.