I woke up this morning to the headline that the government are considering changing the guidelines for fruit and vegetable intake from 5 a day to 10 a day. Research has shown that doubling the portions currently recommended could have a dramatic effect on health.
Studies have also shown that vegetables are far more important than fruit. In Australia, the recommended level is 2 fruit and 5 vegetable portions per day.
Clearly, increasing our intake is key, especially when research suggests that only 30% of us actually achieve the 5 a day. Perhaps recommending a higher amount will mean we have more chance of achieving the lower level.
However, this is easier said than done! Our modern lifestyle, with a reliance on fast food and ready meals, makes this hard to achieve, so I decided to come up with an action plan. By incorporating some or all of the following into your daily routine you should be well on the way to getting between 5 and 10 a day!
- Start your day with a juice or smoothie, this could actually be your breakfast, or an addition to your regular breakfast. Try my recipe for Berry Super Breakfast Smoothie or some of Jason Vale’s amazing Juice Recipes.
- Incorporate some fruit or vegetables into your breakfast routine, for example mushrooms, tomatoes or avocado on toast. Add some berries to your cereal or some dried fruit to your porridge.
- If you have a coffee mid morning, add a piece of fruit. A banana or apple is easy to carry and eat. Even Mcdonalds have fruit bags!
- Add some salad to your lunch; if you make your own sandwiches, incorporate tomatoes, lettuce, cucumber etc. Alternatively go for a vegetable soup, preferably homemade.
- Before your evening meal, have a salad or small bowl of vegetable soup, this will have the added advantage of filling you up without too many calories. I have plenty of soup recipes!
- Having a pot of homemade soup on the stove is an ideal way to offer a healthy snack to anyone who’s hungry: kids, husband, or yourself! For the fridge monsters, have some ready prepared fruit and vegetable sticks to nibble on. Make these the first thing you see when you open the fridge door, some ideas are: carrot sticks in a glass of low fat dressing, celery sticks, sliced peppers, apple segments in apple/orange juice.
- Whatever you prepare for your evening meal, make sure it incorporates hidden vegetables. I have some great recipes on this site, check out Annabel Karmel’s Cottage Pie which has an amazing 9 vegetables in it!
Do you have any good ideas for getting 10 a day?