An easy way to your five a day

By Sarah Noone Nutrition News   |   12th Apr 2019

Despite best intentions, it can be difficult to eat the recommended 5 to 7 portions of fruit and vegetables every day. Thankfully, our expert dietitian Sarah Noone is on hand with tips on how to increase your intake of fruit and vegetables, without making major changes to your diet.

A well-balanced diet should include 5 -7 portions of fruit, vegetables and salad a day. Fruit, vegetables and salad have a lot to offer, especially when we eat a variety of them. Fresh, frozen, tinned, dried and juiced fruit and vegetables all count towards your daily amount.

Fruit, vegetables and salad add vitamins, minerals and fibre to meals, and a healthy diet can reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke by helping to maintain healthy cholesterol and blood pressure levels. A healthy diet can also help us manage our weight.

A standard portion is 80g therefore, an apple, banana, pear or other similar sized fruit counts as one portion. Alternatively you could have a dessert bowl of salad or three tablespoons of vegetables. Approximately one tablespoon of dried fruit e.g. raisins, sultanas is one portion.

Did you know that a portion of baked beans counts as a portion of fruit and vegetables?

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With these four top tricks, fitting in those portions of fruit and vegetables might not be as tricky as you think.

Add them to what you’re eating anyway
Why not add in a few handfuls of vegetables to your spaghetti bolognaise, stir fry, stew or curry? Add carrots, parsnips, sweet potato or butternut squash to bulk up your stews or pack your stir fries with onions, peppers, mushrooms, sweetcorn or broccoli. Give your bolognese a boost with some vegetables blended into your sauce and adding a tin of tomatoes will give you another portion. You could even jazz up your rice by adding sweetcorn or peas. If you don’t have the time to prepare vegetables, you can add frozen mixed vegetables instead.

Start the day right
Why not try adding grated apple, pear slices, blueberries or strawberries to your porridge or wholegrain cereal in the morning to add natural sweetness. Sliced banana makes a tasty topping for toast or an omelette with tomato and mushroom is a great way to boost your vegetable count. By starting the day right you’re one step ahead before you’ve even left home.

Sandwich Fillings
Making your own lunch to take into work or preparing a sandwich allows you to pack in extra vegetables and salad. Sliced cucumber, tomatoes, peppers and lettuce complement many sandwich fillings. Mashed avocado or baked beans can make a great topping for toast as an alternative to your usual sandwich. Did you know that a portion of baked beans counts as a portion of fruit and vegetables?

Snack Smart
If you’re going to work or heading out and about for the day, why not try preparing plastic boxes with carrot, pepper or cucumber sticks or some chopped up fruit, these are all healthy ways to keep you going throughout the day. A piece of wholefruit or a portion of dried fruit such as raisins, sultanas, prunes and apricots are also make easy snacks on the go.

 

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dietitian eat healthy fruit and vegetables healthy diet healthy eating heart disease nutrition stroke ways to live better

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