One of our members asked me to publish an easy reference guide to show people what a serve of vegetables looks like. There is a video about it on the Lighten Up Course, but she wanted something to display in the kitchen to know how to get the recommended 5 serves of veg a day.
Getting 5 serves of veg a day is not as easy as it may seem particularly when you don’t know what a serve of various vegetables looks like. The downloadable PDF gives you a simple reference to what a serve of most popular vegetables looks like to make sure you reach the recommended 5 serves a day. For the veg not included on the sheet, a simple reference is approx. 75g a serve.
Why eat 5 serves a day?
If you need a reminder on why you should eat 5 serves a day here it is
Nutrient-Rich- More bang for your bite:
Vegetables are rich sources of essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They provide vital nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin A, potassium, and dietary fibre, which are necessary for maintaining good health and preventing various illnesses.
Vegetables are a significant source of dietary fibre which is essential for digestive and gut health. It helps regulate bowel movements and can reduce the risk of constipation. It also contributes to a feeling of fullness, aiding in weight management.
Consuming a variety of vegetables can reduce the risk of chronic diseases, including heart disease, stroke, certain types of cancer, and type 2 diabetes. The antioxidants and phytochemicals found in vegetables have been shown to have protective effects against these conditions.
Vegetables are low in calories and high in fibre and are essential to lose weight healthily. Eating more vegetables can help you feel full and satisfied without consuming excessive calories.
The fibre in vegetables aids in digestion and provides our gut bacteria with the food they need to support a healthy gut microbiome. We know today how important this is for both mental and physical health.
Many vegetables are rich in vitamins and antioxidants which contribute to healthy, radiant skin. Vitamin C, in particular, supports collagen production, which is essential for skin health.
Some vegetables, such as carrots and spinach, contain nutrients like beta-carotene and lutein that are beneficial for eye health and can reduce the risk of conditions like macular degeneration and cataracts.
A diet rich in vegetables is associated with improved overall well-being and quality of life. People who consume a variety of vegetables tend to have more energy, better mental health, and lower levels of stress.
What does a serve look like?
Examples of 5 serve days.
As I said earlier it is hard achieving 5 serves a day unless you’re quite strategic about it and there are many days where I fall short of the target if I don’t make a smoothie and go out for dinner at night. It might seem like it’s quicker to throw a sandwich together instead of a making a salad (with some bread on the side) but in doing so you’re almost certain to deny yourself what could easily be 2 – 3 serves of veg.
At dinner, if you don’t count sweet potato, corn, and potatoes (which are nutritious but quite carb rich) you may struggle to include 3 whole serves of veg in your evening meal. That’s why I recommend a daily green smoothie and one of the reasons why I wrote The Greengrocer’s Diet. When you follow the recipes in the book, you don’t have to think, you just do it.
Here are some examples of how to achieve the 5 serves a day target.
DAY 1 EXAMPLE
MORNING GREEN SMOOTHIE
2 large handfuls (equates to 2 cups) spinach, 2 stalks celery, handful mint
+ ½ pear, 2 dates and 10 cashews
Per serve 1 ½
CHICKEN, AVOCADO AND SALAD SANDWICH
Wholegrain bread with ¼ cup spinach, ½ tomato, ¼ Lebanese cucumber,
+ chicken, avocado
Per serve 1
GRILLED SALMON WITH (250 G) ROAST FENNEL, AND OLIVES (Page 225 of The Greengrocer’s Diet) Includes 250 g fennel per serve.
Per serve 5
DAY 2 EXAMPLE
POACHED EGGS ON RYE WITH MUSHROOMS AND SPINACH
Includes 6 medium mushrooms and 1 cup spinach.
Per serve 2
1 MEDIUM CARROT WITH CHEESE AND A SMALL HANDFUL RAW NUT
Per serve 1
RED CHICKEN CURRY WITH VEGETABLES (Page 66 of The Greengrocer’s Diet)
Includes capsicum, mushroom, and broccolini.
Per serve 2