Archimbaldo perhaps took the idea of you are what you eat a bit far! Generally speaking what you had for dinner is not written all over your face – unless of course you have very messy eating habits. However, it can be a bit of a surprise to review not just what you eat every day but how much of everything you consume. Keeping a food diary is a worthwhile if somewhat tedious undertaking. What is even more alarming is to compare your daily intake with what the dieticians would have us believe is a normal healthy diet. What made me stop and think was the suggested quantity of vegetables we should be consuming each day.
The recommendation is 5 – 6 serves of different vegetables every day. Now a serve of vegies consists of ½ cup of cooked vegetables, dried peas, beans or lentils or 1 cup of salad or raw vegetables. So we should be eating 3 cups of cooked vegetables or 6 cups of salad each and every day. That means, for a family of four, preparing 12 cups of different cooked vegetables every day or preparing a whopping 24 cups of salad!
I think the first thing to do is go out and get a compost bin or a worm farm, if you don’t already have one, to cope with all the peelings and trimmings! This quantity of vegetables also involves a lot of shopping and preparation – trust me, I know. To say nothing of the extra time involved in simply eating your way through this amount of vegetation! Our family diet has had to shift from meat served with vegetables to vegetables served with meat - which is of course exactly what the dieticians are aiming at.
An added complication is that with most of the family either at work or school during the day most of these vegetables have to be consumed as part of the evening meal. Presenting at least three different vegies every night can be a bit of a challenge. One thing I have started doing is serving the vegetables as a separate course such as an entrée of salad or a platter of vegie antipasto (grilled eggplant, capsicum and zucchini with roasted tomatoes and perhaps a bit of fetta or goats cheese). The next step is to start growing our own but first of all we need to have a garden.
Watch this space for further progress with the healthy diet.