Are you getting your 5-a-day?

73% of adults and 92% of children are NOT meeting the 5-a-day recommendation for fruit and vegetable intake (National Diet & Nutrition Survey, 2016) 

I think these are really scary statistics as fruits and vegetables help to provide important nutrients including vitamins, minerals and fibre to help support our digestion and our overall health. 

It can be really hard to make sure we’re getting in our 5 portions per day so I have put together 5 tips below to help:

  1. Beans and lentils count - did you know that 80g or three heaped tablespoons of beans and lentils counts toward one of our 5-a-day? They contain carbohydrate, protein and essential vitamins and minerals. (NB: But remember they only count as one portion no matter how much we eat in a day.) 

  2. Breakfast - try including one or 2 portions of fruit or veg with breakfast. For example, berries with porridge or spinach and mushrooms with eggs on toast.

  3. Snacks - a really good way to get in an extra portion is as a snack. Instead of the biscuits in the afternoon try a piece of fruit or hummus and vegetable crudités. 

  4. Sides - I find a lot of restaurants don’t provide many vegetables with their main courses so a great tip is to always order a side or 2 of veg with your main. 

  5. Pile in the veg when cooking at home - when cooking a dish, like this cottage pie, always think ‘how can I add more veg’. I’m always trying to add in more veg when cooking stews and dishes like this. This one has courgettes, peppers, carrots, sweet potato,onions, garlic, aubergines, tomatoes in it, and more courgette, kale and sweetheart cabbage on the side. Rather than white potatoes the top is sweet potato and carrot mash which adds a delicious sweetness to the topping. Sneak in vegetables wherever you can - with recipes using mince you can always half the mince and make up weight with lentils, you won’t notice a difference in taste but you’ll be adding 1 of your 5-a-day and increasing your fibre so your gut microbes will love you! 

Let me know in the comments below any other tips you have and we can all help each other!