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Lower North Island tops fruit and vegetable eating poll

30th January 2014

Lower North Island tops fruit and vegetable eating poll

Thirty-six per cent of residents in the Lower North Island, including those from Wellington, Wairarapa, Taranaki and Hawke’s Bay, eat the recommended daily five or more servings of fresh fruit and vegetables, according to a recent 5+ A Day survey.

Figures show this is slightly higher than other areas of New Zealand.

Meanwhile, the survey found Aucklanders are slightly less likely to eat the recommended daily five or more servings of fresh fruit and vegetables, with only 32 per cent making the cut.

When it comes to slicing and dicing, Aucklanders are a little less confident than the rest of the population when preparing fresh fruit and vegetables with only 45 per cent being very confident, while 12 per cent are quite unsure or very unsure.

On the flip side, South Islanders are a little more confident with 57 per cent of people very confident in preparing fresh fruit and vegetables, while only seven per cent lack confidence, the survey shows.

Confidence in the kitchen is high among the population as a whole with 51 per cent very confident and 41 per cent reasonably confident preparing fresh fruit and vegetables.

Women are more likely to reach for an apple or carrot, with 41 per cent eating five or more servings of fresh produce a day, while only 27 per cent of men manage the same.

Sixty-five per cent of Kiwis have two to three types of vegetables at dinner, while 14 per cent load their dinner plates up with five or more different types of vegetables.

People in the upper North Island (including Waikato, Bay of Plenty and Northland and excluding Auckland) have the widest variety of vegetables at dinner compared to the rest of the country. When a snack attack hits, 78 per cent of Kiwis pick fruit and vegetables to nibble on.

The survey, commissioned by 5+ A Day to find out about Kiwis’ fruit and vegetable eating habits, also found just over a third (36 per cent) of New Zealanders eat the recommended five or more pieces of fruit and vegetables a day, with dinner being the meal where we eat the most fresh produce.

5+ A Day nutritionist, Bronwen Anderson, says small changes can make a big difference.

“It is great to see people enjoying a variety of vegetables at dinner time and to snack on,” she says. “But the survey also found 45 per cent of people had no fresh fruit or vegetables at breakfast. We see this as the perfect opportunity for people to increase their daily intake of fresh produce and be well on their way to getting 5+ A Day.

“A good healthy breakfast boosts alertness, concentration and helps to maintain a healthy body weight. Fruit and vegetables are packed with micronutrients that play an important role in setting you up for the rest of the day.”

To encourage people to eat more fruit and vegetables, the 5+ A Day Challenge, starting on February 1, encourages New Zealanders to add an extra daily serving of fruit or vegetables to boost their health and wellbeing.

“This is such a simple Challenge but one which can have an impact on health. Just adding one serving, which is about a handful, is not a big ask,” says Bronwen.

The month-long Challenge will run through the 5+ A Day Facebook page ( where people will be able to find recipes and tips on how to add an extra serving to their day.

Visit for inspiration and details on how to enter the 5+ A Day Challenge.

The results are from a survey of 706 people nationwide conducted by Nielsen in December. It forms part of 5+ A Day’s ongoing consumer research into the fresh produce industry and the eating habits of New Zealanders when it comes to fruit and vegetables.

How we rate
• On average, 36% eat the recommended five servings of fresh fruit and vegetables a day.
• 78% snack on fruit and vegetables.
• 65% include 2-3 different types of vegetables at dinner time.
• 51% are very confident preparing fresh fruit and vegetables.
• 41% of women eat the recommended five servings of fresh fruit and vegetables a day, while only 27% of men do.
• 45% of Kiwis over 15 years old have no fruit or vegetables for breakfast.

Add an extra serving of fresh fruit and vegetables to reach your 5+ A Day. Here are some ideas on how to do it.

Add an extra serving at breakfast:
• Top your cereal with sliced banana, peaches or a handful of fresh blueberries or strawberries.
• Make a smoothie. Combine some low-fat milk or yoghurt, 1/2 cup of summer berries and a banana for a super easy blended breakfast.
• Make an omelette using capsicums, diced tomatoes, sliced mushrooms, chopped onion and add your favourite fresh herbs – such as parsley, chives or oregano.
• Bake an egg in half an avocado. It's the perfect healthy vehicle for some seriously awesome protein.
• A piece of fruit is the ultimate quick, prep-free, on-the-go solution. Grab a peach, nectarine, banana or a handful of strawberries and enjoy on your way to work.

Add an extra serving at lunch:
• Try a salad: Take a cup of your favourite leafy greens and load with tomatoes, capsicum, cucumber and avocado. Fruit and vegetables have a high water content that helps control hunger by filling you up and with fewer calories.
• Skewer chunks of tomato, courgette and eggplant on a kebab stick, brush with olive oil, grill and serve with garlic and cumin yoghurt dipping sauce. Perfect for barbecue season.
• Bulk up homemade burger patties or pasta dishes with grated vegetables. It only takes a moment to grate carrot and courgette into a dish before cooking. This adds moisture and nutrients to any meal.
• Instead of bread, make your next sandwich or wrap inside a leafy green. Stack two or three large lettuce leaves and pile on the fillings. Enjoy the added crunch factor.
• Go meat-free on Mondays and make a couscous, wild rice, or quinoa salad packed with seasonal vegetables.
• A sandwich or wrap is a great way to get an extra serving of vegetables. Jazz up a ham or chicken sandwich with sliced apples, beetroot, snow peas and rocket.

Add an extra serving with dessert :
• Freeze grapes and sliced bananas for a super satisfying, popsicle delight. For a treat, dip half a banana in a small amount of antioxidant-rich dark chocolate.
• Blend up some fresh peaches, melon or berries with ½ cup low-fat yoghurt for a delightfully refreshing smoothie.
• Dip peach and nectarine wedges, sliced bananas, mango and pineapple spears into low-fat yoghurt for a satisfying dessert or snack.

Add an extra serving at snack time:
• For a quick, crunchy snack fill celery sticks with low-fat cottage cheese and top with raisins.
• Pack chopped fruit and vegetables into snack-size bags for perfectly portioned munchies. Keep them eye level in the fridge for easy access.
• Vegetable sticks paired with a low-fat dip are an easy, healthy option for entertaining. Carrot, capsicum, cucumber, celery sticks and green beans are perfect for dipping. Arrange on a platter and serve with salsa and hummus.


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