How To Get Your 5 A Day

EIt’s no secret that eating fruit and vegetables is healthy. There are many reasons we should incorporate more fruit and vegetables into our diets to ensure we get our recommended 5 a day.

The NHS inform us:

  1. They are a good source of vitamins and minerals;
  2. Provide a high source of dietary fibre, needed to maintain a healthy gut and prevent digestive problems;
  3. Reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and some cancers;
  4. Contribute to a healthy balanced diet;
  5. They come in many varieties;
  6. Most importantly they taste good!

No doubt you are aware that the current recommendation is to eat 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day. This came from the World Health Organisation who suggest that 400g of fruit and vegetables a day lowers the risk of serious health problems.

But how many of us actually achieve this on a regular basis?

Although this is a recommendation The National Diet & Nutrition Survey found that less than a third of adults and only 1 in 10 children reach the WHO’s recommended target.

Need some inspriation?

Tips and tricks for how incorporate 5 fruit and vegetables into your diet a day.

  1. Have a smoothie for breakfast;
  2. Add fruit to your breakfast option whether this is yogurt, porridge or cereal;
  3. Drink a glass of fruit juice;
  4. Add a side salad to your lunch;
  5. Add chopped vegetables to your meal whether its soup, an omelette, shepherds pie – vegetables can be added to most meals;
  6. Instead of breadsticks or flatbread, use celery or carrot sticks to dip into your favourite sauces.
  7. Swap the sugar snacks for fruity alternatives. There are many under 100 calorie options that I have previously written about in ‘The Issue With Snacking Sweet’;
  8. Make more tomato or vegetable based sauces rather than creamy alternatives.

For some people a deterrent to eating more fruit and vegetables is the limited shelf-life. In my ‘How To Eat Healthy On A Budget’ post I suggest frozen and/or tinned fruit as a simple solution to this.

More tips & tricks can be found within the NHS website.

How many fruit and vegetables is classed as ‘one’ portion?

Sometimes this is hard to figure out.

15 raisins? or 150 raisins?

1 whole carrot? Or 10 pieces of carrot?

The NHS also published guidelines of this too under their “what counts” page.

They suggest that one portion of fruit and vegetables is equivalent to; 80g of fresh, canned and/or frozen fruit and vegetables or 80g or dried fruit.

Some portions only count once within one day such as 150ml of fruit juice, vegetable juice or smoothie and 80g of beans and pulses. These only count once a day no matter how much you eat of them. This is because they contain fewer nutrients than other fruit and vegetable options, although they are a strong source of fibre.

It is important to note that potatoes do not count as one of your 5 a day. This is because when eaten as a meal, potatoes are a starchy food which often replaces other starchy alternatives such as bread, pasta or rice.

Although let’s not forget that potatoes do have nutritional value as they are a good source of energy, fibre, B vitamins and potassium.

So there really are plenty of ways we can incorporate more fruit and vegetables into our diet. What’s stopping you?

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