There seems to be an app for everything these days and a reminder to eat your vegetables is one of the latest.
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.
"Our research found two out of three Australian adults are not eating enough vegetables, especially as part of their evening meal,” the CSIRO’s Senior Principal Research Scientist Professor Manny Noakes said.
“It's time to find more engaging, effective approaches to help break these entrenched diet habits,” he said.
Prof. Noakes said that after a few weeks of 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 you avoid eating too much unhealthy junk food," he said.
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 a visual guide to specific vegetable serve sizes, vegetable recipes, nutritional information and motivational rewards.
Challenging users to eat three different vegetables at dinner every day for 21 days, the app helps people track their intake and tally vegetable serves, with daily reminders and rewards to help people stay motivated and on-track.
Information from app users will feed back into CSIRO's study of Australians' vegetable consumption, while helping to analyse the app's effectiveness as an educational initiative to improve Australia's poor vegetable score card.
Nutritionists at the CSIRO 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.
To try the 21-day Do 3 at Dinner challenge and participate in the research study, download the free app here.