What’s in the vegetables and legumes / beans group?
There are many different types of vegetables grown and made available in Australia with a large variety of choice throughout the year. Vegetables come from many different parts of the plant, including the leaves, roots, tubers, flowers, stems, seeds and shoots.
Legumes are the seeds of the plant and are eaten in their immature form as green peas and beans, and the mature form as dried peas, beans, lentils and chickpeas.
Vegetables can be broken up into different groups, with each group providing their own unique nutrients. The main sub-groups for vegetables are:
Dark green or cruciferous/brassica
- Broccoli, brussels sprouts, bok choy, cabbages, cauliflower, kale
- Lettuce, silverbeet, spinach, snow peas
- Potato, cassava, sweet potato, taro, carrots, beetroot, onions, shallots, garlic, bamboo shoots, swede, turnip
- Red kidney beans, soybeans, lima beans, cannellini beans, chickpeas, lentils, split peas, tofu
- Tomato, celery, sprouts, zucchini, squash, avocado, capsicum, eggplant, mushrooms, cucumber, okra, pumpkin, green peas, green beans
How much should I eat from the vegetable and legumes / beans group?
Most adults should eat at least 5 serves from the vegetable group a day. Follow the links below to find out how many serves you need to eat per day.
Minimum recommended average daily number of serves from each of the Five Food Groups
- Children, Adolescents and Toddlers
A serve of vegetables is approximately 75g (100–350kJ) which is:
Each day it is important to eat a variety of different types of vegetables from each of the main vegetable groups. This will ensure you are eating a colourful range and variety of vegetables which will provide you with many of the health promoting benefits.
Starchy vegetables such as sweet potato, taro, cassava or sweet corn should form only part of your daily vegetable intake. This is because they are higher in energy (kilojoules) than other vegetables. Choosing from a wide variety of colourful vegetables at most meals means you will be eating plenty of lower kilojoule vegetables that help fill you up and control your weight.
If potatoes are eaten as hot chips and crisps they are considered to be a discretionary food rather than a serve of vegetables. Hot chips and crisps are high in kilojoules and added fat and added salt.
Health benefits of vegetables and legumes / beans
The scientific evidence of the health benefits of eating vegetables (including legumes/beans) has been reported for decades and continues to strengthen, particularly for cardiovascular disease. Different vegetables can help protect our bodies in different ways, so it’s important to choose a variety. All vegetables provide vitamin C, however capsicum, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Asian greens and tomatoes are particularly high in vitamin C.
Most vegetables are associated with reduced risk of site specific cancers. Green vegetables (including some salad vegetables), beetroot, cauliflower, asparagus, dried peas, beans and lentils are a good source of folate. Cruciferous vegetables (such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, brussels sprouts and bok choy) are believed to have compounds which provide protection against some cancers. The fibre in vegetables (and fruit) is also thought to reduce the risk of some cancers, including colorectal cancer.