Australian's vegetable intake is lacking but scientists have come up with a way to reverse it. Photo: Bev Lacey / The Chronicle
Australian's vegetable intake is lacking but scientists have come up with a way to reverse it. Photo: Bev Lacey / The Chronicle Bev Lacey

How your phone can help you eat more vegies

A NEW app that challenges people to eat more vegies has launched after concern over Australia's poor vegetable intake.

Using a gamified approach, CSIRO's new VegEze app aims to motivate Australians to add extra vegetables to their daily diets and form long-term, healthier habits through a 21-day Do 3 at Dinner challenge.

CSIRO nutritionists will also study how effective the app's game-like nature is at helping transform people's eating patterns, as part of a broader research study.

CSIRO Senior Principal Research Scientist Professor, Manny Noakes, said a fresh approach was needed to improve the country's diet quality.

"Our research found two out of three Australian adults are not eating enough vegetables, especially as part of their evening meal.”

Challenging users to eat three different vegetables at dinner every day for 21 days, the VegEze app helps people track their intake and tally up vegetable serves, with daily reminders and rewards to help people stay motivated and on-track.

"Boosting your intake can be as easy as having three types of vegetables taking up half of your dinner plate,” Professor Noakes said.

"After just a few weeks using the app every day, users should feel more confident in adding more vegetables to their menu and notice some positive changes to their health and wellbeing.

"The beneficial nutrients and fibre from vegetables can help improve digestion, and fill you up - which can help reduce eating too much unhealthy junk food.”

Since May 2015, CSIRO has studied the dietary habits of more than 191,000 adults for its Healthy Diet Score research.

Eating three types of vegetables as part of the evening meal was found to be a key marker in having a better diet, but further research of 1068 adults showed some Australians were being held back from eating more vegetables by low awareness, lack of time and low confidence.

To help people overcome these barriers, the VegEze app features educational resources such as a visual guide to specific vegetable serve sizes, vegetable recipes, nutritional information and motivational rewards.

To try the 21-day Do 3 at Dinner challenge and participate in the research study, download the free VegEze app via the Apple App Store.



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