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Importance of Including Fruits and Vegetables in Diet

Discuss about the Reflection On Changing Health Behaviour By Eating More Fruits And Vegetables.

I want to change my health behaviour habits of eating only flesh. I want to increase more fresh fruits and vegetables in my diet. I wish to change this health behaviour of mine due to various reasons. There are multiple literatures that support this discussion of mine. Yeh et al (2008) proposed that including dietary fibers in form of fruits and vegetables will increase roughage in the body along with maintain vitamins (Yeh et al, 2008). Fruits and vegetables helps maintaining water balance in the body and also vital vitamins and minerals needed to maintain body balances. It is not only critical to intake fruits and vegetables on a regular basis rather than taking them seldom. Fruit and vegetables need to form an integral part of everyday diet as they can keep one healthy and protect against diseases. It has been estimated that Australians will gain from eating vegetables and fruits, which form a part of a well-balanced, active and healthy lifestyle. Kothe, Mullan and Butow (2012) proposed that there are many varieties of food that can be cooked and eaten whereas others should be eaten raw (Kothe, Mullan & Butow, 2012). I will aim at eating five serving of fruits and 2 servings of fruits every day. I will also aim at eating different variety and colors of fruits and vegetable.

Healthy habits transformation is critical to be accommodated and such change need to be achieved. Healthy habits of including fruits and vegetables have to be accommodated in short as well as long term period (Krebs, Prochaska & Rossi, 2010). I have separated my goals to be short term and long-term goals by use of literatures. In short-term period I will aim to achieve my goals by setting a reminder for myself in the calendar. Small et al (2013) proposed that maintaining a time schedule is critical for attaining short-term and long-term habits. When I will go for shopping then I will make it a point to purchase fruits and vegetables accordingly. Then back at home I will package them and keep them separated for everyday of the week.

I will aim at achieving long-term goals in maintaining of healthy habit by way of developing a time schedule for eating fruits and vegetables (Michie et al, 2009). While regularly accommodating fruits and vegetable serving in short –term, I will aim at regularly accommodating the same. This habit when practiced for longer periods of time will become a long-time healthy habit.      

Strategies for Short-term and Long-term Goals for Healthy Habits

Changing behaviour towards health will help impact on health and lifestyle in a positive manner. Accommodating in vegetables and fruits will help bring about positive change in health habits. Most integral I would like to say that there has been no negative impact from accommodation of healthy habits. Integrating in fruits and vegetables into daily lifestyle will allow betterment of health. There will be no negative impacts on changing behaviour by including vegetables and fruits (Ha & Caine-Bish, 2009). Most importantly earlier I used to barely eat servings of fruits and vegetables on a regular basis, but now I have to buy them on a regular basis. Fruits as well as vegetables contain essential minerals and vitamins as Vitamin A, E, C, zinc, phosphorus, magnesium and folic acid. These essential vitamins and minerals help us maintain a healthy body with an immune system. Changing health behaviour to include in vegetables and fruits into diet on a regular basis will allow prevention of many diseases. These will be the positive aspects of the health behaviour change on health as against no negative impacts.       

Incorporating in healthy eating habits and health based behaviours will allow creating an impact on overall health, lifestyle and wellbeing. Eating fruits and vegetables serving everyday will help me maintain a healthy weight. I will be able to easily maintain my BMI (body mass index). Eating healthy servings will help me maintain good levels of water and fiber in the body. I will easily be able to maintain levels of sodium and potassium in the body along with a good level of blood pressure. Lifestyle change will be heavily affected in bowel movements especially. Not consuming enough of fruits and vegetables often led to have constipation. Due to hardening of the stool passing, I often experienced rectal bleeding and other complications (Stadler, Oettingen & Gollwitzer, 2010.). I felt this aspect of hardened stool has been considerably improved by accommodation of vegetables and fruits of various colors into my diet. Earlier I used to get up early in the morning and could not go out easily due to trouble experienced in passing of stool. However, recently there has been an ease in lifestyle with spending less time in the morning toilet. 

Changing behaviour of health is bound to create an impact on lifestyle. Due to changing my health habits now I feel more comfortable and hydrated. Earlier I often experienced various symptoms due to not taking enough water as I missed out in my daily lifestyle (Nelson et al, 2008). Taking in regular amounts of fruits and vegetables along with other diets have increased my hydration levels. Story et al (2008) identified the need for taking in regular quantities of fruits and vegetables along with the impact that they create on lifestyle. Most important lifestyle change will be easing of passing of motion by taking in regular servings of fruits and vegetables. These habits have enhanced my lifestyle by reducing chances of various diseases by protecting against them (Spahn et al, 2010). They have also allowed regular intake of vitamins and minerals that enhance effective synthesis of crucial metabolism in the body. Moreover, these vital elements allow prevention of multiple types of attack on the immune system. Implying that health behaviour changes has been able to alter m y overall lifestyle. 

Positive Impact of Changing Health Behaviour on Lifestyle

While accommodating changes in health behaviours multiple obstacles or barriers had to be overcome. Weekly progress of health behaviour change will allow overcoming of several obstacles that are faced in such behavioral change (Ha & Caine-Bish, 2009). A healthy behavioral change cannot be accommodated within a single time frame and it might take several weeks before accomplishment of final aim and goal in life. While there have been several barriers encountered while accommodating these healthy behaviours all have been potentially overcome by strategizing adequate behaviours. The below table depicts weekly progress of healthy behaviour.

Health Behaviour Change

Weekly Progress

Barriers Overcome

1.      Eating single serving of fruit

Week 1, Week 2, Week 3

Forgetting to purchase fruits

2.      Eating single serving of fruit and vegetables

Week 4, Week 5, Week 6

Forgetting to eat fruits & vegetables

3.      Eating 2 serving each of fruit and vegetables

Week 7, Week 8, Week 9, Week 10

Not eating as per defined time frames

4.      Eating 3 servings of fruits and vegetables

Week 11, Week 12, Week 13

Accommodating fruits & vegetables not within meals

 

Health behaviour change journey is a difficult course of action often requiring accommodating in various habits into lifestyle.  A reflective journey allows analysis of each component of achievement that has been set for a targeted goal (Pearson, Biddle & Gorely, 2009). Initially I defined whatever I wanted to achieve in my daily life routine, then I set goals for short term period and long term period. Once it was effectively identified what I wanted to gain and achieve for myself, I immediately charted down weekly progress activities. A weekly progress of activities helped me arrive at possible facilitators and barriers of my health goals that I defined. As my aim was to achieve my goals within a short time period, I wanted to overcome barriers effectively and focus on the motivators efficiently (Brown & Summerbell, 2009). Focusing more on the facilitators will help achieve my health goals easily and then overcome barriers in an effective manner. The self-reflective assessment will allow accomplishment of set targets in an effective manner by overcoming potential barriers.  

Varied vegetables and fruits have different nutrients. As per Australian dietary guidelines it has been recommended to intake at least a minimum of five kinds of vegetables along with two varieties of fruits on a regular basis (Wakefield, Loken & Hornik, 2010). There are statistical data that reflects Australians of varied ages does not consume enough quantities of fruits and vegetables. Adults need to overcome all barriers to take in regular quantities of vegetables and fruits on a regular basis. While I started to accommodate healthy eating habits I experienced various facilitators along with certain barriers. Kothe, Mullan and Butow (2012) proposed various methods to include healthy eating habits in everyday life. A regular or routine activity will allow maintaining of healthy eating habits. The literature also proposes that vegetables are sometimes eaten raw and sometimes cooked. Overcooking often damages phytochemicals and vital nutrients present in plant foods, therefore it is best to eat them raw or half cooked in case it cannot be eaten raw in form. Various dishes that are cooked with vegetables and fruits I have learned to allow integrating them into my diet plan on a regular basis. These preparations have acted as a facilitator for incorporating healthy habit into my eating schedules. I have also learned to make deserts like custard and cakes that can make use of fruits for eating on a regular basis.

Overcoming Barriers in Changing Health Behaviour

While facilitators of eating fruits and vegetables are many there have been quite a few barriers into eating healthy for me as well. Alaimo et al (2008) explains several factors and reasons that deter intake of fruits and vegetables into urban lifestyle. Living life as a city person has deterred by capabilities to accommodate healthy eating habits into my diet plan. Moreover, the hectic pressures and stress have increased immensely considered to the past. It is often not possible to take out time to go to the market for making purchase for varied colors of fruits and vegetables. Vegetables and fruits are sometimes found fresh and are sometimes found rotten that makes another barrier in accomplishing this healthy eating habit. Most importantly fruits and vegetables are generally expensive items compared to other met items, which makes it least affordable to purchase. Robinson (2008) examined the deterrent factor that makes it almost impossible for urban lads to intake regularly fixed quantities of vegetables and fruits. Most students and office goers are dependent on fast food or food that is available across the market for their snacks or lunch needs. Snacks and other lunch that are available across Sydney, Perth, Victoria and other parts of Australia are mostly meat oriented with bread. Very few shops are present that offers prepared food with vegetables and fruits hence creating a gap for the same intake (Strong et al, 2008). Most people do not prefer carrying their lunch or healthy snacks to Universities or offices that further deters their chances of eating healthy. In order to accomplish said objectives, I have already assigned some short-term strategies with some long-term strategies. Subdividing final goals or accomplishments into short term and long term strategies will help achieve goals in a better manner and also over-achieve them (Mozaffarian et al, 2011). I will try to achieve most of my objectives set within short term such that I can extend my personal goals of achieving healthy habits of eating fruits and vegetables for a longer period of time. I have effectively been able to diagnose my plans for healthy eating habits for betterment of my lifestyle as well as for development of my overall well-being. I feel that with the current stated targets and set goals along with current procedures that I have defined, I will easily be able to accomplish those goals.  


When working with a person with substance related disorder, I will apply my experience of healthy eating. An individual experiencing substance relates disorder or drug abuse is bound to face clinical impairment along with distress. Working with such a person often requires sheer mental strength and determination to help him overcome his current condition. It is rather difficult to work with an individual who had faced substance related disorder to motivate them and bring them on a path of appropriate diet plan (Baranowski et al, 2008). A person with substance disorder will generally have an addiction that is rather difficult to get rid of, hence timely medication with appropriate care need to be provided such as to provide maximum benefits to the person concerned. Though I will try to include my self-based learning on the person, but it is to be noted that making such a person adhere to the basics of diet plan is rather difficult (Brug et al, 2008). I will hence need to select easiest possible plan that can allow the person to follow. In absence of an easy plan, the person will not be able to adhere to principles and overcome his current condition. As the person must have faced serious addiction issue that would have been rather difficult to overcome, that is the reason he is being treated at a healthcare center. So, an easy plan has to be offered to him and a strict compliance has to be monitored from our point of view to keep in check the person’s wellbeing (Chapman, Armitage & Norman, 2009).       

Australian Dietary Guidelines for Fruit and Vegetable Intake

Depending upon the drug use or overuse, the person’s physical and mental health can be determined and then only a healthy course of action can be effectively suggested. In order to direct such person on an appropriate path of life and overcome current condition, I will first chalk out a healthy dietary plan as I had done for myself. The dietary plan will be developed taking into account Australian Government’s regular intake for vitamins and minerals. While making subscription for such dietary intake I will keep provisions for making changes and alterations in case necessity arises. Once such a plan has been developed, I will identify the potential facilitators and barriers to good health (Golley et al., 2011). Most importantly in this case I will undertake determination of the addiction or drug that the individual had been taking for a prolonged period of time, post which only I will apply necessary course of action. After identifying the potential drug, I will analyse all possible contradictions that he might face while accomplishing a healthy habit such as any medications. Identifying any possible contradictions will allow me to identify the potential barriers that might come in way of accomplishing a healthy lifestyle. Then I will plan at establishing the motivators or facilitators of healthy habits over barriers. Facilitators of healthy habits that can allow the person cope with his current conditions will be identified and then factors to motivate those behaviours will be undertaken. A routine actively will be identified and set for the person such that he is able to overcome his addition levels. In order to evaluate progress of routine activities, there will be a weekly target and activity chart designed to allow checking progress related to an activity (Adriaanse et al., 2011).  Monitoring of weekly activity is found to be crucial for assessing and arriving at final steps of charted goals. There will be a short-term goal identified along with a long term goal. The short-term goal as well as the long term goal will be broken and subdivided into smaller activities to allow accommodation of integral factors necessary for achieving the said objectives. Thus, my personal reflection will be used to arrive at better health goals for an individual with substance addition as well.

Reference Lists

Adriaanse, M.A., Vinkers, C.D., De Ridder, D.T., Hox, J.J. and De Wit, J.B., 2011. Do implementation intentions help to eat a healthy diet? A systematic review and meta-analysis of the empirical evidence. Appetite, 56(1), pp.183-193.

Alaimo, K., Packnett, E., Miles, R.A. and Kruger, D.J., 2008. Fruit and vegetable intake among urban community gardeners. Journal of nutrition education and behavior, 40(2), pp.94-101.

Baranowski, T., Buday, R., Thompson, D.I. and Baranowski, J., 2008. Playing for real: video games and stories for health-related behavior change. American journal of preventive medicine, 34(1), pp.74-82.

Brown, T. and Summerbell, C., 2009. Systematic review of school?based interventions that focus on changing dietary intake and physical activity levels to prevent childhood obesity: an update to the obesity guidance produced by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence. Obesity reviews, 10(1), pp.110-141.

Brug, J., Kremers, S.P., Van Lenthe, F., Ball, K. and Crawford, D., 2008. Environmental determinants of healthy eating: in need of theory and evidence: Symposium on ‘Behavioural nutrition and energy balance in the young’. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, 67(3), pp.307-316.

Chapman, J., Armitage, C.J. and Norman, P., 2009. Comparing implementation intention interventions in relation to young adults’ intake of fruit and vegetables. Psychology and Health, 24(3), pp.317-332.

Golley, R., Hendrie, G.A., Slater, A. and Corsini, N., 2011. Interventions that involve parents to improve children's weight?related nutrition intake and activity patterns–what nutrition and activity targets and behaviour change techniques are associated with intervention effectiveness?. Obesity reviews, 12(2), pp.114-130.

Ha, E.J. and Caine-Bish, N., 2009. Effect of nutrition intervention using a general nutrition course for promoting fruit and vegetable consumption among college students. Journal of nutrition education and behavior, 41(2), pp.103-109.

Kothe, E.J., Mullan, B.A. and Butow, P., 2012. Promoting fruit and vegetable consumption. Testing an intervention based on the theory of planned behaviour. Appetite, 58(3), pp.997-1004.

Krebs, P., Prochaska, J.O. and Rossi, J.S., 2010. A meta-analysis of computer-tailored interventions for health behavior change. Preventive medicine, 51(3-4), pp.214-221.

Mozaffarian, D., Hao, T., Rimm, E.B., Willett, W.C. and Hu, F.B., 2011. Changes in diet and lifestyle and long-term weight gain in women and men. New England Journal of Medicine, 364(25), pp.2392-2404.

Michie, S., Abraham, C., Whittington, C., McAteer, J. and Gupta, S., 2009. Effective techniques in healthy eating and physical activity interventions: a meta-regression. Health Psychology, 28(6), p.690.

Nelson, M.C., Story, M., Larson, N.I., Neumark?Sztainer, D. and Lytle, L.A., 2008. Emerging adulthood and college?aged youth: an overlooked age for weight?related behavior change. Obesity, 16(10), pp.2205-2211.

Pearson, N., Biddle, S.J. and Gorely, T., 2009. Family correlates of fruit and vegetable consumption in children and adolescents: a systematic review. Public health nutrition, 12(2), pp.267-283.

Robinson, T., 2008. Applying the socio-ecological model to improving fruit and vegetable intake among low-income African Americans. Journal of community health, 33(6), pp.395-406.

Small, M., Bailey-Davis, L., Morgan, N. and Maggs, J., 2013. Changes in eating and physical activity behaviors across seven semesters of college: living on or off campus matters. Health Education & Behavior, 40(4), pp.435-441.

Spahn, J.M., Reeves, R.S., Keim, K.S., Laquatra, I., Kellogg, M., Jortberg, B. and Clark, N.A., 2010. State of the evidence regarding behavior change theories and strategies in nutrition counseling to facilitate health and food behavior change. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 110(6), pp.879-891.

Stadler, G., Oettingen, G. and Gollwitzer, P.M., 2010. Intervention effects of information and self-regulation on eating fruits and vegetables over two years. Health Psychology, 29(3), p.274.

Strong, K.A., Parks, S.L., Anderson, E., Winett, R. and Davy, B.M., 2008. Weight gain prevention: identifying theory-based targets for health behavior change in young adults. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 108(10), pp.1708-1715.

Story, M., Kaphingst, K.M., Robinson-O'Brien, R. and Glanz, K., 2008. Creating healthy food and eating environments: policy and environmental approaches. Annu. Rev. Public Health, 29, pp.253-272.  

Wakefield, M.A., Loken, B. and Hornik, R.C., 2010. Use of mass media campaigns to change health behaviour. The Lancet, 376(9748), pp.1261-1271.                                       

Yeh, M.C., Ickes, S.B., Lowenstein, L.M., Shuval, K., Ammerman, A.S., Farris, R. and Katz, D.L., 2008. Understanding barriers and facilitators of fruit and vegetable consumption among a diverse multi-ethnic population in the USA. Health Promotion International, 23(1), pp.42-51.

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