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Australians Eating Less Vegetables And Throwing More Out

Nine in ten Australian adults are not eating enough vegetables and only half eat enough fruit according to a report from the Australian Government’s Australian Institute of Health and Welfare Australia’s Food and Nutrition 250. When two thirds of Australian adults are overweight or obese, a diet rich in fruits and vegetables is essential to manage weight 251. Perhaps more worrying is that while we buy fruits and vegetables, we don’t end up eating them and we throw out $1.1 billion worth each year 250.

How many times have you found a half avo in the fridge and wondered what to do with it? Stop food wastage and visit the Australian Avocados Recipe Finder for loads of snack ideas to use up that avo. If the half avo is a little brown on the top, don’t worry just scrape that off and the fruit underneath will be fine. And the next time you have a half avo left over, leave the seed in, squeeze a little lemon juice over the top, or cover the edge with cling wrap pressed down firmly to remove the air; this will help stop it from turning brown.

Avocados are technically a fruit and in culinary terms are often used as a vegetable (a fruitable?), but in any case are a nutritious addition to any balanced diet.  Half an avocado per person, or 1-2 avocados for a family, can provide a range of essential nutrients such as vitamins C, E, K and folate.  When the kids won’t eat their greens, avocado is often the other “green” they will eat.  The smooth texture and light flavour means it’s perfect to use in place of spreads on bread, to dip veggie sticks into and to add to salads. The healthy fats in avocado play an important role in a salad – they help us absorb the colourful carotenoid pigments in salad vegetables – beta carotene (orange), lutein and zeaxanthin (yellow) and lycopene (red). These yellow carotenoids are necessary antioxidants for eye health 252,253. Avocados also contain some of these colourful pigments mixed together to create the yellow green centre.

Persuading kids to eat a healthy salad though, can sometimes be a battle. Australian Avocados recognise the challenges parents face when getting their children to their fruit and veg.  The ‘Eating My Colourful Vegies and Fruit’ program for early childhood centres, developed by Australian Avocados, aims to develop healthy eating habits in children aged 3 to 5 years by encouraging children to explore a range of colourful fruit and vegetables. As children learn to try new foods, flavours and textures, parents in turn can look forward to seeing their food wastage decrease around the home.

So when you go to buy your ’2 and 5′ fruit and veg this week, think about exploring different colours and introducing avocado as the other ‘green’ for picky eaters. Then remember to store the avo appropriately so you don’t waste this nutrient dense, gorgeous, green fruitable!

 

Author: Lisa Yates, Consultant Dietitian Adv APD

Lisa Yates is an Advanced Accredited Practising Dietitian with 18 years experience in nutrition, communications, clinical practice, as well as marketing strategy development and implementation.

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