Enjoy veggies this Christmas

: 5+ A Day are encouraging people to each more vegetables this Christmas. Supplied image.

It’s hoped more Kiwis will be opting to include a colourful grazing platter packed with delicious fresh produce as their centrepiece for this year’s Christmas table.

The 5+ A Day Charitable Trust general manager Paula Dudley says a growing number of people are committing to a plant-based diet or at least making a conscious effort to eat more fresh fruit and vegetables throughout the year.

“This is the perfect occasion to get creative with your Christmas table, as this time of year we have an amazing array of choices including sweet cherries, strawberries, ripe tomatoes, new potatoes, avocados, asparagus and fresh herbs.

“You’ll be amazed by how much more energetic you feel by eating a platter like this at Christmas instead of less healthy options,” says Paula.

Colour is the key to compiling an attractive spread, so opt for plenty of bright reds, yellows, greens and a splash of beetroot hummus that will really get your taste buds going, she says.

Cherries and strawberries are synonymous with Christmas given they’re in peak season. Strawberries are rich in antioxidants and are a good source of vitamin C, manganese, folate and potassium.

“Avocados are one of only a few fruit which contain fat. This healthy monounsaturated fat helps to lower blood cholesterol and increase satiety, so you’ll be less tempted to go back for second, or third helpings on Christmas Day,” she says.

Asparagus will provide a daily dose of folate while new season potatoes are a must-have with any festive meal. They’re high in fibre and a terrific source of vitamin B6, potassium, vitamin C, niacin and pantothenic acid.

“Did you know that eating plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables has also been linked to an improved mood? So if you want to inject a bit more Christmas cheer into your friends’ or family’s lives, this is a great way to do it,” Paula says.

Top your platter with some toasted pumpkin seeds and walnuts plus a wedge of lemon or lime to create an impressive festive display, Merry Christmas, she says.

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