LiveLighter® serves up a September challenge to Bendigo residents
As we head into spring, Cancer Council Victoria’s LiveLighter® program is encouraging Greater Bendigo residents to eat more fruit and vegetables as part of their September Challenge.
Population health data shows that 60% of Greater Bendigo residents are above a healthy weight, with only 34% of men and 52% of women in Greater Bendigo meeting the National Health and Medical Research Council recommended two serves of fruit a day and only 14% of women meeting the recommended five serves of vegetables per day #.
LiveLighter® Victoria Campaign Manager and dietitian Emma Glassenbury said there were many ways people could adjust their diet and activity levels to benefit their health, and spring provided an opportunity for many to shake off any unhealthy habits developed over winter and during lockdowns.
“It’s been a long 18 months for many. Moving in and out of lockdowns, coping with uncertainty and just getting through these stressful times means that our health and wellbeing may have been put on the backburner. The change of season, with longer days and warmer weather is the perfect time for people to take simple steps to improve their health.
“Being above a healthy weight can lead to many health problems, including diabetes, heart disease and some cancers, and what we’re seeing in this data is that many people just aren’t consuming the foods they need to sustain a healthy diet.
“Fruits and vegetables are key to a healthy diet, full of fibre, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that your body needs to thrive. Eating more of them can not only help you maintain a healthy weight it can also reduce blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels and prevent diseases including heart disease and some cancers.
“Our September Fruit and Veg challenge offers a chance to kickstart healthier habits, providing daily prompts for individuals who want to make improvements to their diets. We’re encouraging people to use this as a springboard in their homes, workplaces and wider community to move towards better health.
The challenge, which features 12 fruit and vegetable mini challenges, tips and links to resources and recipes is designed to provide quick, easy and fun ways to pack more fruit and vegetables into your diet.
"Even by taking small steps towards a healthier lifestyle, we can have a big impact on our health and quality of life down the track.
“Spring is a season of growth after all and the fruits and vegetables that are in season during these months can not only add important nutrients to your diet but also add colour, flavour and variety to your meals.
“If you’re unsure which fruit and vegetables are in season or need some help on how to select or prepare certain fruits and vegetables, LiveLighter® has an A to Z guide of Fruit and Vegetables that has all the information you need to get your two serves of fruit and five serves of vegetables each day.”
LiveLighter® quick tips to add more fruit and vegetables into every meal
- Swap jam for real fruit on toast
- Step up your omelette by adding spinach, mushrooms, tomatoes and other fresh additions
- Add sliced fruit to your bowl of cereal or porridge
- Pack fresh fruit for a quick snack on-the-go
- Munch on vegetable sticks with hummus, think carrot and cucumber
- Slip finely sliced and grated vegetables into muffins and other savoury snacks
Lunch and dinner
- Bulk out dishes with canned lentils and beans (half a cup of legumes = one serve of veg)
- Add more colour to your salad with some sliced up fruit
- Have a go at meat-free Mondays and make vegetables the star of your meal
# No data was provided for men meeting vegetable consumption guidelines.
NB: This release has been distributed to five regional LGAs with localised data; Bendigo, Ballarat, Wangaratta, Geelong and Mildura.