How To Eat Your 5 A Day
We constantly hear that we should be eating more fruit and vegetables. But when you’re running a busy life, changing your eating habits can be the last thing on your mind. However by simply increasing the amount of fruit and vegetables you eat every day, you can drastically improve your health now and in the future.
According to the British Dietetic Association, only 15% of adults achieve the 5 a day target set by the UK government. Based on advice from the World Health Organisation, it is recommended that everyone should eat at least 400 grams of fruit and vegetables, in 80 grams portions, on a daily basis.
Studies have shown that those who fit 5 a day or more fruit and vegetables into their diet have a lower risk of diseases, including, obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, some cancers and high blood pressure. It has even been suggested that eating more fruit and vegetables is second only to stopping smoking as a cancer prevention plan.
Tinned, frozen, juice not from concentrate and dried fruit and vegetables all contribute towards the 5 a day target. However, it is advised that you try to eat a ‘rainbow’ of colours when it comes to your 5 a day. Each vegetable and fruit contains different nutrients, vitamins and minerals vital to your diet: for example, an orange carrot is bursting with vitamin A, while leafy green spinach is packed with iron.
Although most fruit and vegetables contribute to your 5 a day, potato and cassava do not — this is because they contain a high starch content.
Ten easy ways to fit more fruit and veg into your routine:
1. Breakfast boost. Add berries or banana to your cereal or mix with low-fat yogurt.
2. Add extras to your favourite dish. Even a simple meal like bolognese can be given a vitamin lift by mixing in some extra veggies. Carrots, peppers or even peas complement this pasta recipe well.
3. Stick some in your sandwiches. Instead of plain ham and cheese, chop up some tomatoes or add cucumber slices to your tuna.
4. Beans, lentils and pulses are a great addition to bakes, salads and stews but bear in mind that, however much you eat, they can only count towards one portion each day.
5. Whip up a fruit smoothie. Using frozen fruit means that you can get away with making a full fruit smoothie with no yoghurt or juice. Try blending frozen mixed berries and banana for a mid-afternoon pick-me-up.
6. Always add salad. No matter what the meal is, put a little bowl of leaves alongside your dish and get munching.
7. Have a sweet treat. Dried pineapple, raisins or sultanas are a delicious alternative to biscuits or chocolate and will give you a longer lasting sugar lift.
8. Don’t scream for ice cream — reach for frozen berries instead. Suck on chilled or frozen blueberries in the summertime to cool you down and satisfy that sweet tooth.
9. Get your fruit baskets delivered. It can be difficult finding the time to pop to the local market to find the freshest fruit, so make it easy on yourself and let others do the legwork.
10. Switch it up. Planning mashed potatoes with your Sunday lunch? Try swede or celery instead. You’ll contribute to your 5 a day and will miss out on the starchy potato.