Waikato and BOP residents eat the widest variety of vegetables with their dinner, according to a recent 5+ A Day survey.

Figures from the survey show 65 per cent of all Kiwis have two to three different types of vegetables at dinner, with residents of the upper North Island (excluding Auckland) topping the variety stakes.

Thirty-six per cent of those in the Waikato, Bay of Plenty and Northland include four or more different types of vegetables on their dinner plate, while 15 per cent enjoy five or more different types.

South Islanders are kitchen masters when it comes to slicing and dicing fresh produce, with 57 per cent saying they are very confident when it comes to preparing fruit and vegetables, while only seven per cent lack confidence.

On the flip side, Aucklanders are a little less confident than the rest of the population with only 45 per cent report being very confident in preparing fruit and vegetables and 12 per cent quite unsure or very unsure.

Confidence in the kitchen is high among the population as a whole with 51 per cent very confident and 41 per cent reasonably confident when preparing fresh fruit and vegetables.

Women are more likely to reach for an apple or carrot, with 41 per cent eating five or more servings of fresh produce a day, while only 27 per cent of men do the same.  When a snack attack hits, 78 per cent of Kiwis pick fruit and vegetables to nibble on.

The survey, commissioned by 5+ A Day to find out about Kiwis’ fruit and vegetable eating habits, also found  just over a third (36 per cent) of New Zealanders eat the recommended five or more pieces of fruit and vegetables a day, with dinner being the meal where we eat the most fresh produce.

5+ A Day nutritionist, Bronwen Anderson, says small changes can make a big difference.

“It is great to see people enjoying a variety of vegetables at dinnertime and to snack on,” she says. “But the survey also found 45 per cent of people had no fresh fruit or vegetables at breakfast. We see this as the perfect opportunity for people to increase their daily intake of fresh produce and be well on their way to getting 5+ A Day.

“A good, healthy breakfast boosts alertness, concentration and helps to maintain a healthy body weight. Fruit and vegetables are packed with micronutrients that play an important role in setting you up for the rest of the day.”

To encourage people to eat more fruit and vegetables, the 5+ A Day Challenge, starting on February 1, encourages New Zealanders to add an extra serving of fruit or vegetable to their day to boost health and wellbeing.

“This is such a simple Challenge but one which can have an impact on health,” says Bronwen. “Just adding one serving, which is about a handful, is not a big ask.”

The month-long Challenge will run through the 5+ A Day Facebook page (www.facebook.com/5adayNZ) where people will be able to find recipes and tips on how to add an extra serving to their day.

Visit www.5aday.co.nz for inspiration and details on how to enter the 5+ A Day Challenge.

The results are from a survey of 706 people nationwide, conducted by Nielsen in December. It forms part of 5+ A Day’s ongoing consumer research into the fresh produce industry and the eating habits of New Zealanders when it comes to fruit and vegetables.

How we rate

  • On average, 36% eat the recommended five servings of fresh fruit and vegetables a day.
  • 78% snack on fruit and vegetables.
  • 65% include 2-3 different types of vegetables at dinner time.
  • 51% are very confident preparing and cooking fresh fruit and vegetables.
  • 41% of women eat the recommended five servings of fresh fruit and vegetables a day, while only 27% of men do.
  • 45% of Kiwis over 15 years old have no fruit or vegetables for breakfast.

Add an extra serving of fresh fruit and vegetables each day to reach your 5+ A Day. Here are some ideas on how to do it.

Add an extra serving at breakfast:

  •   At breakfast top your cereal with   sliced banana, peaches or a handful of fresh blueberries or strawberries.
  •   Make a smoothie. Combine some   low-fat milk or yoghurt, 1/2 cup of summer berries and a banana for a super   easy blended breakfast.
  •   Make an omelette using capsicums,   diced tomatoes, sliced mushrooms, chopped onion and add your favourite fresh   herbs – such as parsley, chives or oregano.
  •   Bake an egg in an avocado.   It’s the perfect healthy vehicle for some seriously awesome protein.
  •   A piece of fruit is the ultimate   quick, prep-free, on-the-go solution. Grab a peach, nectarine, banana or a   handful of strawberries and enjoy on your way to work.


Add an extra serving at lunch:

  •   Try a salad: Take a cup of your   favourite leafy greens and load with tomatoes, capsicum, cucumber and   avocado. Fruit and vegetables have a high water   content that helps control hunger by filling you up and with fewer   calories.
  •   Skewer chunks of   tomato, courgette and eggplant on a kebab stick, brush with olive oil, grill   and serve with garlic and cumin yoghurt dipping sauce. Perfect for barbecue   season.
  •   Bulk up homemade burger patties or   pasta dishes with grated vegetables. It only takes a moment to grate carrot   and courgette into a dish before cooking. This adds moisture and nutrients to   any meal.
  •   Instead of bread, make your next   sandwich or wrap inside a leafy green. Stack two or three large lettuce   leaves and pile on the fillings. Enjoy the added crunch factor.
  •   Go meat-free on Mondays and make a   couscous, wild rice, or quinoa salad packed with seasonal vegetables.
  •   A sandwich or wrap is a great way   to get an extra serving of vegetables. Jazz up a ham or chicken sandwich with   sliced apples, beetroot, snow peas and rocket.


Add an extra serving with dessert:

  •   Freeze grapes and sliced bananas   for a super satisfying, popsicle delight. For a treat, dip half a banana in a   small amount of antioxidant-rich dark chocolate.
  •   Blend up some fresh peaches, melon   or berries with ½ cup low-fat yoghurt for a delightfully refreshing smoothie.
  •   Dip peach and nectarine wedges,   sliced bananas, mango and pineapple spears into low-fat yoghurt for a   satisfying dessert or snack.


Add an   extra serving at snack time:

  •   For a quick, crunchy snack fill   celery sticks with low-fat cottage cheese and top with raisins.
  •   Pack chopped fruit and vegetables   into snack-size bags for perfectly portioned munchies.  Keep them eye   level in the fridge for easy access.
  •   Vegetable sticks paired with a   low-fat dip are an easy, healthy option for entertaining. Carrot, capsicum,   cucumber, celery sticks and green beans are perfect for dipping. Arrange on a   platter and serve with salsa and hummus.



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