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Vegie challenge part 2 - the Tony Soprano of the fruit bowl

Wednesday 25 August, 2010

Thanks to everyone who sent through breakfast suggestions. It's amazing to see how many vegie options there are for breakfast. Some great ideas included: frittatas, asparagus with eggs and rhubarb with yoghurt.

What caused the most debate here though was what actually constitutes a ‘vegetable'. In particular, there are several fruits masquerading as vegies such as tomatoes and avocados. The most interesting vegetable impostor is the eggplant. Yes you heard right. Despite looking wholehearted like a vegetable, eggplant is a fruit.

Not your usual fruit salad ingredient.

The second cool thing about eggplants is that according to my vegetable dictionary, they belong to the ‘nightshade' family. How deliciously dangerous-sounding. The Tony Soprano of the fruit bowl.

With so much duplicity going on in the fruit and veg world, is there an easy way to tell them apart?

The Collins English Dictionary defines them as:

Fruit - the ripened ovary of a flowering plant containing one or more seeds (ew!)

Vegetable - any of various herbaceous plants having parts that are used for food - thanks for clearing that up!

But even if you fall for the wily ways of these faux-vegies, the good news, according to Beth Scholes, one of our dietician friends at VicHealth, is that many fruits such as eggplant "would substitute well for a vegetable as it has similar nutritional benefits such as fibre and, vitamins and minerals."  

So how did I go with my challenge?

Here's how I went overall:

Wed  - 4 serves - all at dinner

Thurs - 4 serves - however in a breakthrough I managed to bring some carrot sticks into work for morning tea.

Fri - 5 serves - hurrah! Finally. Don't have to resign now.  2 serves at lunch (lentil soup) and 3 serves at dinner (minestrone)

Sat - terrible - can't discuss

Sun - back on track but only 4 serves - 2 at breakfast though

Mon - 5 serves - carrot sticks a winner, spinach at lunch - only had to eat 3 serves for dinner.

Tues - 4 serves all for dinner - back to bad habits

Ok, so I made it up to 4 serves every day for a week and on two occasions I hit the elusive 5. Not bad by my reckoning.

A couple of things occurred to me during the week:

  1. How hard it is buy vegetables on the go if you're out of the house.
  2. That I really needed to plan out my day's menu to reach the big 5.
  3. If you marinate in oil or deep fry vegetables does that negate them from the 5?
  4. Does a piece of carrot cake equate to a serve of vegetables?

These last two questions certainly require further investigation so I am going to extend my challenge by another week. 

I'm going to see if I can crack the 5 each day. How did you go? If you could have a whole-food vending machine what vegetables would be best for people on the run?


Think I am ahead of the pack as have been having salad for lunch now for several year general every day of the week except weekend, not so good on weekend. Salad alwas includes carrot & celery. What are cucumbers & mushrooms, fruit, Vegie or other? As for vending machine suggest carrots, cerlery, etc thing that don't go off that quickly and are easy to eat while on the run.

From: Carys, 15/04/2013

With the warm weather upon us, I have taken to smoothies - a handful of frozen blueberries and a frozen banana (i pop them in the freezer when they turn too brown to eat), some natural yogurt, honey and milk. Delicious and full of super food goodness.

From: Kate, 15/04/2013

Ever tried beetroot chips? ... ridiculously expensive but very yum! ... they'd go well in a vending machine, together with sweet potato and parsnip. I tried drying some beetroot slices myself in the oven with a smear of olive oil & a sprinkle of rock salt when done and the kids ate them! Also, you can sneak heaps of veggies into a homemade pastie and all tastes nice wrapped in puff pastry ... kids have been eating them cold in their lunchboxes ... yes, filling a kids lunchbox can be a real challenge too!

From: Sonia, 15/04/2013

What about olives? Do these tasty little morsels count as a vegetable?

From: Emily, 15/04/2013

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