HOW’S this for a tough ask: trying to get Australians to eat more vegetables.
That’s the aim of a campaign being run during this week’s National Nutrition Week, and it’s a noble goal.
But it’s also a very difficult goal. Parade thinks you would have more chance convincing Australians to dye their hair for a day or wear a wacky shirt to work than to nibble on a carrot when they had their lunch.
The statistic Parade read this week is that 96 per cent of Australians fail to eat their recommended daily intake of vegetables, so Nutrition Australia’s Try For 5 theme is encouraging Australians to discover new ways to add veg to their day.
The recommended daily intake for people over four years of age is around five serves of vegies and legumes a day – hence Try For 5.
Unsurprisingly, very few people are meeting that daily intake.
Nutrition Australia wants us to eat a rainbow (a variety of vegies each day), try something new (such as a different recipe that includes vegies) and love legumes.
Parade wishes the organisers every success, but thinks trying to get people to eat more healthy food in 2016 would be matched in difficulty only in trying to convince them to put away their mobile phone for a while, reduce their reliance on social media or leave the car at home and walk to work.
It’s not ignorance – people know they should eat well, do plenty of exercise and not spend too much time staring at a screen – that’s the problem, it’s inclination.
Temptation is everywhere. Entreaties are constant. And there are fewer highway signs about cucumber or carrots than there are about hot chicken.
It’s an age of instant gratification, and vegetables aren’t as gratifying as hot chips.
Having said all that, Parade will never eat zucchini. There could be a public health campaign that eating zucchini leads to higher superannuation returns, guaranteed pay rises or immortality and Parade would still struggle to force it down his throat.
Parade gave up on zucchini in childhood and doesn’t understand why the rest of the world hasn’t done the same.