Vegetables and legumes/beans food group

vegetables and legumes beans food group image

 

The vegetables and legumes/beans food group forms an important part of the Australian diet, but most Australians are not consuming enough of these foods. Vegetables and legumes/beans are nutrient-dense, yet low in energy and the Australian Dietary Guidelines recognise the health benefits of consuming this food group to achieve a balanced diet.

Vegetable consumption is associated with reduced risk of weight gain, stroke and coronary heart disease, while evidence statements for legumes/beans highlight consumption is associated with reduced total and LDL cholesterol.1

Key nutrients in this food group include: Fibre, vitamin C, magnesium and folate. Some vegetables, such as potato, sweet potato and green peas are a good source of carbohydrate, while legumes and beans are a good source of protein, carbohydrate, zinc and iron. Some vegetables contain important phytochemicals, for example, carrots and pumpkin contain carotenoids.

The National Health Survey revealed potatoes are the most commonly consumed vegetable,2 however individual foods within this group contain a wide variety of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients, so it is important to consume a wide variety of vegetables and legumes/beans in the diet.3


Serve recommendations

 
Age group 
Serves
Men 

19–50

6
 

51–70

5.5

 

70+

5
Women

19–50

5

 

51–70

5

 

70+

5

 

Pregnant

5

 

Breastfeeding <18

5

 

Breastfeeding >18

7.5

Children

1–2 y/o girls and boys

2.5

 

2–3 y/o girls and boys

2.5

 

4–8 y/o girls and boys

4.5

 

9–11 y/o girls and boys

5

 

12–13 y/o boys

5.5

 

12–13 y/o girls

5

 

14–18 y/o boys

5.5

 

14–18 y/o girls

5 

Adapted from the 2013 Australian Dietary Guidelines.

A standard serve of vegetables is approximately 75g which is equivalent to:

  • ½ cup cooked green or orange vegetables (for example, broccoli, spinach, carrots or pumpkin)

  • ½ cup cooked dried or canned beans, peas or lentils (preferably with no added salt)

  • 1 cup green leafy or raw salad vegetables

  • ½ cup sweet corn

  • ½ medium potato or other starchy vegetables (sweet potato, taro or cassava)

  • 1 medium tomato.4

Use the Nutrition Calculator to calculate recommended serves of the five food groups for each age and gender group.

Links

The Veggycation website has further evidence-based information on the health benefits of consuming vegetables.


 



1 National Health and Medical Research Council. Australian Dietary Guidelines, Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia; 2013.

2 Australian Bureau of Statistics [Internet]. Canberra: ABS; 2015. Australian Health Survey: Usual Nutrient Intakes, 2011-2012. Cat 4364.0.55.007. [updated 2015 Apr 15; cited 2016 Feb 16]. Available: http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/by%20Subject/4364.0.55.007~2011-12~Main%20Features~Vegetable%20products%20and%20dishes~722

3 National Health and Medical Research Council. Vegetables and legumes/beans [Internet]. Canberra, Commonwealth of Australia, 2015. Available: https://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/food-essentials/five-food-groups/vegetables-and-legumes-beans

National Health and Medical Research Council. Australian Dietary Guidelines, Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia; 2013.