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How To Get Your 5-A-Day Fruit & Veg!

By Vicky Hall BSc Nutritional Medicine BSc Biology

Fruit and vegetables are a dieter's best friend! They are low in calories, packed full of vitamins and minerals, full of satisfying fibre and virtually fat-free. They also contain many phytonutrients and antioxidants, which have been shown to offer significant protection against many diseases and may even help delay the signs of ageing. What more could you ask for? Fruit has the added benefit of being sweet, which can be useful in satisfying those sugar cravings too.

What counts as 5 a day?

Well, the good news is that fresh, frozen, chilled, 100% juice and dried varieties all count, but to reach the government's target you need to eat 5 different types each day. The different colours of fruits and vegetables are due to the different nutrients they contain, so always try to have an assortment of different colours on your plate.

As a rough guide, a portion is around the size of a tennis ball, or, more precisely about 80-100g. Here are some examples:

  • Fruit: 2 satsumas; 1 apple, pear or banana; ½ large grapefruit; 1 glass of 100% juice; 3 dried apricots; or 1 tablespoon of raisins.
  • Vegetables: 3 heaped tablespoons of cooked carrots or peas; or 1 cereal bowl of mixed salad. Ordinary potatoes don't count as they are considered a starchy carbohydrate food, but sweet potatoes do.

Easy ways to eat your 5 a day.

Most people find it easier to eat fruit than vegetables. Let's face it, plain boiled vegetables are a little uninspiring. So here are some ideas to ensure you get your 5 a day.

  • Start the day with a glass of 100% juice.
  • If you have a blender, make a smoothie from combinations of fruit that you like. It's like a meal in a glass and tastes divine!
  • Even better, buy a juicer and make your own vegetable and fruit juices.
  • When you have a cooked breakfast, add grilled tomatoes and mushrooms.
  • In winter, soups are a warming and nutritious way to eat several vegetables at once.
  • Try out some new salad combinations. Most raw vegetables can be used in salads. Have you tried adding grated white cabbage or fennel?
  • Make your casserole predominantly based on vegetables, not meat.
  • Roast your vegetables using a mist of spray oil
  • Stir fry vegetables in a mixture of olive oil and a dash of water.

Above all, experiment, have fun and enjoy!

You are advised to seek medical advice before making any changes to your diet or lifestyle with an aim of weight loss. This website and the content provided should not be used by persons under 18, by pregnant or nursing women, or individuals with any type of health condition, except under the direct supervision of a qualified medical professional. The information contained in these articles, and elsewhere on this website, is provided for educational and entertainment purposes only, and is not intended to replace, and does not constitute legal, professional, medical or healthcare advice or diagnosis and may not be used for such purposes. Continue...

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