You’ve probably heard by now that research has been released that showed that the usual recommended 5 a day fruit and veg intake is insufficient and for better health we should actually be aiming for more than 7 portions, 10 portions being the ultimate goal.
For some of us trying to eat that amount might seem a bit of a challenge, so how do you fit it all in? Here’s a few ideas for getting your 7-10 portions of fruit and veg each day:
Breakfast is a great opportunity to get a good start on your 10 a day. A small glass (150ml) of unsweetened fruit juice with breakfast not only counts as 1 of your portions but the vitamin C will make it easier for the body to absorb iron from breakfast cereal or toast so it’s a double whammy in terms of health.
If you’re a cereal eater, add some fresh berries or dried fruit. If you’re a toast eater add mashed banana, sliced avocado or guacamole.1 small banana or 2 handfuls of blueberries or 3 dried apricots or 1 tbsp raisins or half an avocado = 1 portion.
Do it yourself
Fruit yoghurts contain hardly any fruit so a better option would be to add chopped or pureed fruit to plain yoghurt. Use frozen, canned or fresh fruit to make a compote which can be stirred into anything. 3 tbsp of compote = 1 portion.
A bowl of soup can provide 2 or 3 portions. Make it yourself and you know for sure how much has gone in.
Boost the veg content of your meals and incorporate more chopped or grated veg into things like spag bol, shepards pies and curries. In recipes that use mince, you could reduce the meat by 25% and add brown lentils. 3tbsp = 1 portion.
Be more canny
One thing that stops many people eating more fruit and veg is that they don’t have the time to buy or prepare them, but things like canned tomatoes, sweetcorn and pouches of fruit are convenient and are just as nutritious as fresh. 3 heaped tablespoons of canned sweetcorn = 1 portion.
Although not strictly vegetables, beans and pulses will count as one portion of vegetables – 3 tbsp of baked beans, cooked/canned red kidney beans or lentils =1 portion.
Be smarter with your snacks
Instead of crisps or savoury snacks, serve veggie based dips like guacamole or hummus with strips of raw carrot, red pepper or celery. 3 tbsp of hummus or guacamole = 1 portion.
Try something new
Regular potatoes don’t count as a portion of veg but sweet potatoes and other root veg like butternut squash and celeriac do. Instead of regular roast potatoes serve roasted celeriac or use sweet potato to make mash or wedges. 3 heaped tbsp or 1 small sweet potato = 1 portion.
If you’re having a wrap or sandwich add a handful of spinach. If you are having quiche, add a side salad in fact serve salad with everything. Use veg in place of carbs, for instance use lettuce leaves in place of wraps and courgette ribbons in place of pasta. Just make sure you eat enough to feel full.