What is a serve of fruit & vegetables?

 What is a serve of fruit & vegetables?

We know the benefits of eating lots of fruit & vegetables. If you wish to review these read the full article. This discussion is more about why it is so hard to meet, for the majority of Australians, the minimum requirement and what we can do individually to encourage a greater uptake.

Did you know that in Australia 90% of women and 96% of men don’t eat enough vegetables? It takes time to collate results from National surveys so these results apply now. A survey from 2014-2015  shows that the uptake of fruit & vegetables is worsening.

What we should be eating as a minimum per day:

2 serves of fruit and 5 serves of Vegetables

Note  – A Serve = Fruit  1 medium piece 150gms and Vegetables half a cup of cooked vegetables or cup salad.

BUT in reality….

What we are eating  – National average:

MEN          1.6 serves of fruit

2.3 serves of vegetables

WOMEN   1.8 serves of fruit

2.5 serves of vegetables.

What does 1 Serve look like?

Fruit serves









Vegetable serves

Many go for high energy foods because they are filling. Calories are energy. These high energy foods – takeaway and empty calorie sweet foods are easy for weight gain. Rather than select fruit and vegetables which have a high nutritional value but mostly low in energy content. Lots of greens have a high nutritional value and low in in calories. Corn is higher in calories as it has a higher natural sugar content.

What are some of the issues we know about surrounding reduced fruit veg intake?

****   We think the major issue is understanding what a SERVE is and realizing we are, many of us, under-eating vegetables.

  • Limited access as grocers close down
  • Convenience – purchasing prepared high energy foods with little nutritional content.
  • Having limited knowledge of food and nutrition/cooking skills

All about Choice

Are you the ‘Food Gatekeeper’? The person who does the shopping and is the controller of food choice in your home.

Role models are important. Here are some comments made by Harvest Hub members over the years – thanks for sharing your thoughts.

“My Parents taught me good food choices when I was a child.”

“I don’t spend much on seeing the doctor as I eat well and exercise regularly. I spend the money I save on good food.”

“We always helped prepare meals with the family. I learnt new recipes with my Mum and Dad had some favourites too.”

“I thought I would leave home if broccoli was presented one more time. But Mum kept it up and when I discovered I could make a forest with the broccoli trees, carrots and stones with my corn I enjoyed eating my forest. This lead to making funny faces on my plate – creative dinnertime.”

These conversations about food and what it means to each of us show different aspects on how we all can make a difference in our family and circle of friends. Simple having friends over and introducing them to a new vegetable – maybe getting one extra to let them take it home and try it.

A great suggestion: Create a Food Map – Kids can pin the name of the vegetable or picture on the board  – ‘Where my food comes from’. This encourages the conversation about ‘What is in season?’

Food can be fun – what better way to share your knowledge.