Three tops tips for the time poor corporate: Increasing vegetable intake to boost health, longevity and work performance

pexels-photo-356830.jpeg

Back to back intense meetings, extended work hours, skipping meals whilst adding copious amounts of caffeine – sound familiar? What if nutrition could be quick, tasty and practical to make everything easier? Well it CAN and not only will this reduce your risk of chronic health disease such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease, but also help improve body function and increase energy.

The stats: Lettuce tell you

Did you know that in 2014-15 that only 7% of Australian adults met the guidelines for recommended intake vegetables?

Similarly, in a recent survey conducted in a leading Australian bank by our business Body Fusion, 85.5% of employees were not meeting their recommended serving.

Fact: Healthy employees have been found to be three times as productive than unhealthy employees!

So what are these “guidelines” ?

Taken from the Australian Healthy Food Guide Portion Sizing Poster

Taken from the Australian Healthy Food Guide Portion Sizing Poster

The implications: Lettuce tell you more

 Not meeting your brightly coloured intake of rainbow veggies means:

·      Less fibre, negatively influencing digestion and increasing risk of colon cancer

·      Decreased satiety = hungry worker = impacted mood and interaction with team plus reduced  ability to concentrate

·      Insufficient intake of vitamins and minerals, which support body function. For example vegetables are an excellent source of potassium which aids in electrolyte balance, regulation of blood pressure and supports nerve and muscle function (including the heart!)

·      Compromised immunity, which influences energy, enjoyment of work and sick days needed

healthy-vegetables-restaurant-nature.jpg

Help me solve this creatively and simply: Now!

1.    Be organised

This means from the get go on a Monday and yes a shop is crucial over the weekend! We suggest bringing healthy snacks to work that include vegetables: veggie sticks (carrot, cucumber, red capsicum) and hummus, savoury muffins or a small snap lock bag of cherry tomatoes.

2.    ALWAYS make sure there are vegetables in your lunch

What’s the easiest way to do this? Take food from home that has been cooked in advance. A huge vegetable frittata, vegetable lasagna or spinach and ricotta pie at home will make multiple serves. Salads are also always a winner!

Like to purchase on the run? Alternatively look to add veggies to your lunch in other quick ways. How about you match a veggie-based juice (carrot, celery, beetroot, ginger and apple) with your grainy ham and cheese toastie?

3.    Use tools and cues as reminders to eat

When things get busy, eating goes to the end of the priority list. Putting your snacks or lunch near your keyboard, setting a phone alarm or having another healthy buddy in the office to keep accountable will all work.

Another option is the new amazing App VegEze app by Hort Innovation https://horticulture.com.au/ which gives your hot tips and reminders to encourage you to get to your goal of 5 serves in the day.

So there you have it: Get started today by doing a big healthy grocery shop or better yet check in with a Dietitian to help guide you on your own personalised journey!

Ash, Vegetable and life enthusiast

Veggie Muffins

It's official. We struggle to get enough veggies in our day, everyday! My new favourite past time has been trialling inventive snacks that I can pass on to our lovely clients. Oh...and that I can also indulge in myself! Whilst enjoying a Friday night in recently and enjoying some 90's smash hits after a busy work week, I discovered these. Enjoy, Ash xx

Makes: 12

Ingredients

100g semidried tomatoes or grilled capsicum

2 cups wholemeal raising flour

1 large zucchini, grated

1 large carrot, grated

1/2 cup spring onions finely sliced

1/2 cup coarsely grated cheese (You're choice)

1/2 cup skim milk

3 eggs, lightly whisked

60g olive oil margarine

1/2 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp dried basil

Shake of salt

Method

Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Spray 12 medium muffin pans with oil to grease. Literally throw all ingredients into a big bowl whilst dancing to Michael Jackson and combine well. 

Spoon the mixture into prepared tins and bake in the pre-heated oven for 20 minutes until golden and cooked through. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Nutrition: 

Energy: 140 calories/588kJ, Protein 6.6g, Carbs 16.3 (1 diabetic exchange), Fat 5.4g

As a lighter snack have one of these with a cup of tea. For a bit more protein eat your muffin with a 250mL cup of coffee, glass of milk or chai for a snack worth about 220-250 calories/924-1050kJ kilojoules.

Suggestions: Heat in the microwave, especially during these cooler winter months!

Spicy Carrot Dip

Ingredients:

3 carrots (475g), grated

75g (1/4 cup) tahini

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 clove of garlic, chopped

2 medjool dates, pit removed

1.5cm piece fresh ginger, grated

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon garam masala

1/4 cup freshly chopped coriander leaves

125ml (1/2 cup) water

Method:

Blend all in a food processor or blender.

Enjoy

1. As a snack with cut up veggie sticks or grainy crackers. 1/3 of a cup is a good portion!

2. As a spread on your wraps or sandwhiches

Nutrition

Carrots are high in Beta Carotene, an important antioxidant which plays a role in generating healthy skin and eyes. Tahini is made of sesame seeds and high in a certain natural food chemicals called lignans which have been seen to reduce cholesterol. Tahini is also a good source of calcium and magnesium, which aids in building strong bones. Ginger has been seen to reduce inflammation, assist in protective immunity and assist with digestion. What are you waiting for - eat it up!

I Carrot encourage you enough to eat your fruit and vegetables, A Berry good reason to Munch yourself to Health This Summer

Beach. Heat. Sun. Night swims. Barbeques. Cocktails. Yep, that’s right, Australian Summer is here along with a brand new 2015!

With a new year comes new motivation to shake (or run!) off those extra couple of kilograms or get back to treating our bodies with some love so we feel like happy humans again. This means nourishing fuel and adequate exercise, enough sleep and reducing those delicious beers, sneaky ciders or sparking wines.

In January everyone gets bombarded with exercise and nutrition programs, social media posts, gimmicks, gadgets and fad diets. It can all get a little overwhelming. Which one will you choose? And importantly, I am reminding you, which ones are credible!? I saw a post the other day online which read, “Having a six pack does not make you an authority on nutrition”. I am with this philosophy 110%! Make sure you do your research. I suggest following or booking in with an Accredited Practising Dietitian, I heard that they are pretty awesome ;)

Enough of all this bananas, although these options are all appeeling – time to get back to some nutrition basics – Increasing your fruit and vegetable intake!

Fruit and vegetables are high in fibre and various vitamins and minerals. The good news is that we are receiving more positive evidence that adequate intake in align with guidelines is associated with reducing disease risk. Recently (2014) the College of London found that eating seven or more portions reduces the specific risks of death by cancer and heart disease by 25% and 31% respectively. WOW. Give me another carrot!

This isn't the only benefit. Fruit and vegetables can help fill us up whilst reducing the energy density (total amount of energy) of what we are eating. If you are looking for weight loss, getting your 2 fruit and 5 vege everyday can definitely assist your efforts!

Eating fruit and vegetables in season is often CHEAPER and they taste BETTER. Wondering what fruit and vege is in season currently?

Taken from the Australian Seasonal Produce Guide

Summer Fruits

Blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries cherries, grapes, melons (watermelon, rock melon, honeydew), nectarines, peaches, plums, Valencia oranges, tomatoes

Summer Vegetables

Asparagus, beans, beetroot, cabbage, capsicum, carrots, celery, chilies, cucumbers, eggplant, leeks, lettuces, pumpkin, rhubarb, snow peas, spinach, spring onion, sweet corn, turnips, zucchini

 Some Nutritional Benefits of summer fruits

·      Berries: High in antioxidants, vitamin K, manganese and vitamin C, these guys are bursting with health. They are also low in calories!

·      Melons: Watermelon being ~92% water is a great hydrator during summer. Similar to tomatoes, watermelon is also high in lycopene, a compound linked to reducing the risk of prostrate cancer. Watermelon is one of the only foods that is high GI however (releases sugar quickly into your blood steam), so I would eat it in conjunction with other fruits or some yoghurt. Rock melon and honeydew are an excellent source of vitamin C and potassium.

·      Orange and yellow fruits are excellent sources of vitamin A for glowing and strong skin, vision and immunity.

 A serve of fruit (2 per day recommended)

     · 1 medium apple, banana, orange or pear

· 2 small apricots, kiwi fruits or plums

· 20 grapes/cherries, 1 cup blueberries or raspberries, 3 cups strawberries

· 30g dried fruit, such as 4 dried apricot halves; 1 ½ tablespoons of sultana

· 1 cup diced pieces of canned fruit

               Or only occasionally

· 125mL (1/2 cup) 100% no added sugar fruit juice

 

Some Nutritional Benefits of Summer Vegetables

·      Beetroot helps maintain healthy blood pressure levels

·      Cabbage is an anti-inflammatory

·      Pumpkin and carrots contain high amounts of vitamin A

·      Spring onions contain a valuable flavonoid quercetin, which acts as an antioxidant linked to preventing cancer. Their use also means you don’t have to add sugar and salt to your cooking!

 A serve of vegetables (5 per day recommended)

· ½ cup of raw or cooked orange (such as carrots or pumpkin) or cruciferous (such as broccoli, cauliflower, or cabbage) vegetables

· ½ cup of cooked or canned (no added salt) beans, peas or lentils

· 1 cup of green leafy vegetables or green salad vegetables (raw)

· 1 small-medium tomato

· 1 small or ½ a medium potato or equivalent starchy vegetable such as sweet potato, sweet corn, taro or cassava.

5 ways to get munching more

·      Have fruit smoothies or cereal with fruit for breakfast instead of toast

·      Make sure you include vegetables in both your lunch and dinner

·      Have fruit as a snack or as a dessert if you are hungry after dinner

·      Snack on vege sticks or cherry tomatoes during the day

·      Incorporate more interesting salads into your day

 Orange you glad I posted this?

 Enjoy, Ash xx

Nutrition to get you to your Nineties!

Do you want to live a long life? Do you want to live a comfortable life? (Minimised stressful life events like heart attacks, falls and injuries or even bothering stomach upsets or sickness) If you like me, I'd like to think I was still skydiving at age 85 ;)

I was very honoured today to have a visit from a beautiful client who is just about to turn 93. This is the second time within a couple of years I have been graced with the presence of someone who can sit in front of me and talk about living through the second world war!

The longer our consult went on, the more I began to admire her sense of health and positive daily habits. It soon became apparent to me WHY she had lived so long. Ok yes, genetics have some say in your risk of disease pathways but this woman was living proof of dietary choices impacting profoundly upon longevity.

Some simple things I observed (and from which we can all learn from):

- She grew her own vegetables in her own garden. Every day she would pick only as much as she needed for her meals (No food wastage, she gets food sustainability points too!). These were seasonal vegetables free of pesticides and full of fibre, vitamins and minerals.

- She ate regular meals and included afternoon and morning snacks of fresh fruit, yoghurt or nuts. High quality nutrients to maintain bone integrity and immunity

- She ate fresh fish 4-5x/week for lunch with her garden vegetables and a couple of potatoes. Fish has always been regarded as a phenomenally nourishing choice due to is Omega 3's which support cognition, maintain healthy cholesterol levels and support healthy joints. Potatoes are a good source of carbohydrate, B6 which supports the nervous system and vitamin C, an antioxidant which reduces cellular damage.

- She didn't drink any coffee but mostly tea and a glass of water every meal

- She was in bed by 830pm every night and slept a solid 8 hours

- Although 93, she still participated in bowls 2x/week and gardened most days out in the sun (Our primary source of vitamin D!)

This client and I had a fantastic education session. She is now implementing some of my advice to tweak her diet further. I just love that she is so open to this even at her age.

So, I ask you. How do you want you health to be and what do you want to be doing with your life at age 93? Why not act now?