If you live in the U.K, it’s very likely that you’ve heard about the “5-a-day” campaign, which a is public health recommendation to consume at least 5 portions of fruit and veggies a day.
It can be all too easy to think if you have 5 different fruits or veggies a day or 5 portions of a couple of different fruits then bingo – you’ve hit the goal. However, there are a couple of things we need to be mindful of to ensure we’re reaching that recommendation and obtaining a variety of nutrients, too!
Why is it important to have 5-a-day?
Diets rich in fruits and vegetables can help to reduce the risk of high blood pressure, helping to prevent against heart disease and strokes. They’re also vital for good gut health as they contain fibre (especially in the skin!), which helps to optimise blood cholesterol and prevent constipation. Did you know 70% of our immune system lives in our gut?
Fruits and vegetables are a fantastic source of a variety of vitamins and minerals to help meet your daily recommendations. Therefore, consuming a VARIETY of different fruits and vegetables is key! For example, bananas provide a source of potassium, whilst the kiwi fruit is a great way to boost your vitamin C! Remember to eat the rainbow! ?
But what portion size counts as 1 of our 5-a-day?
1 portion is equal to:
? 80g (one handful approx) of fresh, canned or frozen fruit and vegetables OR
? 30g of dried fruit* OR
?150ml of fruit juice, vegetable juice or a smoothie** OR
? 80g (approx 3 tbsps) of beans, lentils or pulses**
*Counts only once a day!
**Dried fruit should ideally be eaten at mealtimes (you can add some dried apricots to a tagine or raisins to a homemade curry for example!), rather than a between-meal snack on their own (consider adding some nuts to balance), to minimise the risk of tooth decay. ?
? TOP TIPS – Keep canned fruit and veg in natural juice/water in your cupboards (if the water has salt in it make sure to rinse first!) and a bag of mixed berries and mixed veg in the freezer to add to a smoothie/ stir fry. Aim to include at least one or two portions of your 5-a-day in at least two meals of the day and/ or as a couple of healthy snacks!
What are your tips to eat more fruits and veg?