AUSSIES are more likely to be found smashing a pie than snacking on pineapple, drinking wine but shunning grapes and skipping our veg, according to taste.com.au’s biggest ever health study.
In association with Freedom Foods, taste.com.au surveyed more than 11,000 Australians to find what people are actually eating across the country.
It’s known as the Great Aussie Health Discovery.
And it discovered we’re not as healthy as we think we are.
The survey found that less than one in 10 people are eating the recommended serves of both fruit and veggies each day (just 7 per cent), and more than 80 per cent of Aussies are regularly eating highly processed takeaway foods, such as meat pies, hot chips, crisps, biscuits and muffins.
And almost one in 10 is drinking alcohol at dangerous levels.
Only 10 per cent of Aussies eat the recommended amount of veggies each day — with no improvement in this number since the last survey two years ago. Those aged between 18 and 24 are most likely to not eat any veggies at all in a day.
Fruit consumption is also down, with almost 60 per cent not eating the recommended two serves of fruit a day.
Not eating enough fruit and veg is one part of an overall less-healthy lifestyle. The same people are less likely to drink enough water, and more likely to eat junk food and drink excess alcohol each week.
Taste.com.au nutrition editor Chrissy Freer says eating enough fruit and veg each day is important for weight control, chronic disease prevention, digestion and general energy levels.
“The blast of nutrients in fruit and veg put petrol in your tank and give you that healthy glow,” she says.
“Vegetables especially help to regulate your weight; the dietary fibre fills you up and they are rich in antioxidants that protect from a huge range of diseases.”
Almost half of all Aussies are eating junk food at least once every three days.
“Meat pies, hot chips and other junk food are high in saturated fat, sugar and sodium which contributes to higher risks of hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and other chronic diseases,” Chrissy says.
Interestingly, most people think they are healthier and eat better than they actually do.
Seniors (65+) are the healthiest age group, but they are not as healthy as they think they are. The youngest age group surveyed (18-35) was the least healthy, indicating a generational health crisis in the making for that demographic.
In better news, almost nine in 10 people are eating breakfast each day, and 80 per cent are preparing home-cooked meals five or more times in the course of a week.
The survey found the majority of people believe eating healthily to be more expensive, time consuming and not as family friendly.
That’s where Eat Real comes in. Eat Real is a taste.com.au initiative that breaks down the healthy-eating myths and provides great-tasting recipes that are quick, easy, affordable, family friendly and, importantly, tasty.
Over the next three weeks, we’ll introduce everyday supermarket “hero” ingredients, deliver an Eat Real family meal plan and share some lunch box inspiration before the kids start back at school.
Chrissy says the best way to get the year off to a healthy start is to get organised.
“Clean out the pantry, throw out the highly processed packet foods and stock the shelves with whole foods, such as wholegrains, seeds and nuts,” she says. “Too often we start the year with great intentions but they tend to be unrealistic. Set one goal and stick to it.”
HEALTHY RECIPES FOR 2018
Sticky Asian pumpkin & red rice salad
160g (3/4 cup) red rice, rinsed
375ml (1 ½ cups) water
1.2kg Kent pumpkin, cut into eight wedges
1 tbs coconut oil, melted
1 ½ tbs finely grated palm sugar
1 tbs lemongrass paste
60ml (1/4 cup) lime juice
½ cup fresh coriander leaves, chopped
1 fresh long green chilli, chopped
170g no-fat Greek yoghurt
½ cup fresh Thai basil leaves
½ cup fresh mint leaves
2 tbs fried shallots
1. Preheat oven to 200C/180C fan forced. Line two baking trays with baking paper. Place rice and water in a small saucepan over high heat. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low. Cook, covered, for 35 minutes or until tender. Stand covered for 5 minutes. Transfer to a colander to drain. Cool.
2. Meanwhile, place the pumpkin wedges on prepared trays. Drizzle with the oil. Season. Roast, turning halfway through cooking, for 20 minutes or until golden.
3. Combine palm sugar, lemongrass and 2 tbs of the lime juice in a small bowl. Season well. Drizzle over pumpkin. Roast for a further 10-15 minutes or until pumpkin is tender and lightly caramelised.
4. Process the coriander and chilli in a food processor until finely chopped. Add the yoghurt and remaining lime juice. Process until well combined. Season.
5. Combine the rice, basil leaves and mint leaves in a bowl. Arrange the pumpkin and rice mixture on a serving plate. Drizzle with the yoghurt dressing and sprinkle with the fried shallots.
Vegetable ribbon skewers with tomato salsa
2 (450g) zucchini, peeled into ribbons
400g butternut pumpkin, peeled into ribbons
1 red capsicum, cut into 2.5cm pieces
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
50g goat’s cheese, crumbled
3 roma tomatoes, seeded, finely chopped
½ small red onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1. Place zucchini, pumpkin and capsicum in a large bowl. Add oil and oregano. Toss well to coat. Thread 1 piece of capsicum, 1 piece of zucchini and 1 piece of pumpkin onto 1 skewer. Repeat threading 3 more times. Place skewer on a plate. Repeat to make 7 more skewers.
2. Make tomato salsa: Combine tomato, onion, garlic, basil, parsley, vinegar and oil in a glass or ceramic bowl. Season well with salt and pepper.
3. Heat a chargrill pan or barbecue grill on medium heat. Cook skewers, turning occasionally, for 3 to 5 minutes each side or until vegetables are golden and tender. Transfer to a serving tray. Spoon tomato salsa over skewers and sprinkle with goat’s cheese. Serve.
Broccoli salad with green goddess dressing
2 small zucchini, peeled into thin slices
1 small bunch English spinach, trimmed, roughly chopped
300g broccoli, cut into small florets
2 teaspoons black chia seeds
GREEN GODDESS DRESSING
½ avocado, chopped
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
2 green onions, thinly sliced
½ teaspoon caster sugar
2 teaspoons lemon juice
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup Tamar Valley Dairy Greek yoghurt
½ cup finely chopped fresh herbs (parsley, tarragon and basil)
1. Make dressing: Place avocado, vinegar, garlic, onion, sugar and lemon juice in a small food processor. Process until smooth. With motor running, add oil in a slow steady stream. Transfer to a bowl. Stir in yoghurt and herbs. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
2. Toss zucchini, spinach and broccoli together in a bowl. Transfer to a serving bowl. Dollop with dressing and sprinkle with chia seeds. Serve.