Want better grades? ‘Try for 5’ this National Nutrition Week!
Are you among the 91% of people not eating enough vegetables? We get it – sourcing, cooking and eating healthy food isn’t always the easiest or cheapest option, especially when you’re busy with study and other commitments.
We all know how important it is to have a healthy diet. This National Nutrition Week (16–22 October), we’re here to remind you of the power of vegetables and encourage you to ‘try for 5’ – eating five serves of veggies each day, that is!
Not sure what a ‘serve’ of veggies looks like? It’s roughly the size of your fist, which equals 75g – or half a cup of cooked or frozen veg, one cup of salad/raw veg, one medium tomato or half a potato.
There’s no better time to increase your brain power than in the middle of exams, so here’s why you need to boost your veggie intake ASAP. Your grades will thank you!
Nutrition and brain function are closely linked
Dietary nutrients are critical to the structure and function of your brain. Think of your brain as a car engine – the better the fuel, the better it will run. Eating food with lots of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants nourishes the brain and protects it from oxidative stress – which can damage cells and subsequently decrease brain efficiency.
Better cognition has been associated with the Mediterranean diet, which is rich in olive oil, nuts, fruit, vegetables and fish, while a higher intake of processed foods has been associated with reduced functioning of the brain.
You don’t have to spend lots to eat well
We all know that a trip to the supermarket costs a lot more these days and that eating well isn’t always the cheapest option. During busy times, it’s easy to rely on takeaway food that’s high in sugar and fat with very low nutrient content.
Here’s some ways to eat well on a budget:
- Go for frozen: frozen veggies contain similar amounts of many nutrients as fresh veggies. They’re an easy way to add variety when your favourite veggies are out of season, and can be cheaper and more convenient. The trick is to not overcook them – they’ve already been blanched (cooked quickly) before freezing, so just need warming up.
- Plan ahead: Aussie households throw away around one in five bags of groceries – yikes! Use a weekly meal planner, set aside some time for weekly meal prep and make the most of your leftovers.
- Embrace the imperfect: body positivity should include veggies too! Choose ‘ugly’ or ‘imperfect’ veggies – they’re often cheaper, but taste just as good on the inside! Also help your veggies to last longer with these storage tips.
The Try for 5 website has even more ways to eat well without breaking the bank – from how to use the whole vegetable to a bunch of budget-friendly recipes. And check out these awesome supermarket hacks from Deakin’s student Money Matters team!
Need more veggie inspiration?
- Visit Try for 5 for a range of events this National Nutrition Week – from live cooking demonstrations to competitions and giveaways. Also follow Deakin Life Insta this week for lots of veggie tips and hacks!
- Come to DUSA’s Skill-it Kitchen Noodle Night, where you’ll learn how to make a fresh a hearty plant-based Pad Thai loaded with delicious veggies.
- Head to the Deakin Community Garden at Burwood to pick some free fresh produce – right now, there’s plenty of scarlet runner beans, warrigal greens (native spinach), chilies/jalapenos, strawberries, parsley and lemon thyme.
- Check out our online healthy eating hub Nourished @ Deakin. Created by two Bachelor of Nutrition students, it’s packed with ideas, inspiration and step-by-step meal guides.
Good luck with your exams and enjoy the wonderful world of veggies!