GET creative in the kitchen.
That's the new cry from Queensland horticulture group Growcom which is pushing Australians to try new things in order to increase their fruit and vegetable consumption.
The Eat Yourself to Health campaign, launched in April, aims to promote two very clear and simple messages to help boost immunity:
- Eat Up!
- Branch Out!
The "Eat Up!" message pushes shoppers to meet the recommended daily serves of two fruits and five vegetables.
But Growcom says less is known about the link between eating a wider variety of fruits, vegetables and nuts, and improved wellbeing.
Research has shown a varied diet, composed of lots of different plant-based, high-fibre foods can help boost gut health and prevent against disease.
The concept behind "Branch Out!" is to encourage consumers to add a few items to their shopping baskets that are out of the ordinary, or going direct to the farmer for fresh produce normally only eaten when dining out.
Growcom chair, Belinda Adams, said many Australian producers are exploring new markets for their produce following the closure of the hospitality and tourism industries.
"With COVID-19 affecting access to markets and restaurants, many growers have turned their sights to offering fresh produce boxes for pick-up and delivery," Ms Adams said.
"This provides consumers with the perfect opportunity to branch out and try something new while continuing to support growers who are farming through the pandemic.
"Now could be the best opportunity we have to establish real and longer-term dietary behaviour changes among average Australians well past the point of the lockdown."
Health and Wellbeing Queensland chief executive officer, Dr Robyn Littlewood, said Queensland was fortunate to have an incredible diversity of amazing, high-quality fresh produce grown locally.
"With the COVID-19 pandemic and the upcoming flu season, staying healthy by eating a balanced and nutritious diet is more important than ever - and vegetables, fruits and nuts are excellent sources of vitamins, minerals, fibre and other nutrients," Dr Littlewood said.
"During this time there's so much you can be doing to Boost your Healthy.
"You can consume a diversity of fresh Queensland produce and give your health, and our growers, just the boost we all need."
The importance of eating plenty of vegetables, fruits and nuts has never been more critical, so I urge everyone who has an interest in supporting their own health, as well as the health of their families, friends and their communities, to promote fresh produce and eat yourself to health.- James Whiteside, CEO, Ausveg
Ausveg CEO, James Whiteside, said Australian's vegetable and potato growers were deeply committed to increasing consumption of fresh produce among Australians of all ages.
"The health benefits of increasing consumption of fresh produce are well-documented, but the rates of consumption are still unacceptably low," Mr Whiteside said.
"We need to work together to pool our expertise, knowledge and passion to remedy this."
"The importance of eating plenty of vegetables, fruits and nuts has never been more critical, so I urge everyone who has an interest in supporting their own health, as well as the health of their families, friends and their communities, to promote fresh produce and eat yourself to health."
Through Eat Yourself to Health, Australian growers have been challenging consumers to COVID Cooking Challenges on social media, encouraging experimentation in the kitchen.
Since the launch of the grassroots campaign, consumers have been connecting with growers via Facebook and Instagram and branching out by cooking with a wide variety of produce.
An Eat Yourself to Health website has been established with a variety of resources and information for consumers on how to boost their health through increased intake of fruits, vegetables and nuts.