With only an estimated 28% of adults and 18% of children meeting their 5-a-day, it’s essential that we all start to consume more fruits and vegetables (1). It’s easier said than done – I didn’t touch a fruit or vegetable for a long time when I was younger. Fruits and vegetables can be so much more than just eating an apple as a snack of having boiled carrots with your dinner. Get creative – roast, season or hide them in dishes. I hope the tips below can help you achieve your 5-a-day!
1. Grate vegetables and incorporate them into meals. Make some savoury pancakes with grated carrot or courgette. Add grated carrot to meatballs or as the base of a ragu.
2. Add some vegetables to an omelette – onion, tomatoes, peppers and mushrooms work great!
3. Start by adding a piece of fruit to breakfast and a portion (80g) of vegetables to your lunch and dinner (that’s already 3 portions). Get to 5 portions by having an apple or some cucumber and carrot sticks as snacks.
4. Fresh, frozen or canned – it all counts. If choosing canned varieties, opt for fruit in natural juice rather than syrup, and vegetables in unsalted water.
5. To help children eat their vegetables, add a variety to a tomato based sauce, cook and then blend them up – they’ll never know!
6. Make vegetables the centre of attention. Glaze, season or marinade your vegetables to take them to the next level. Boiled vegetables don’t have to be the only option.
7. Know your portion sizes. It can appear daunting to meet your 5-a-day but sometimes it’s not as much as you might think. Whilst a portion (80g) of salad is quite large, a portion of broccoli is roughly 2 spears (2). The NHS have a great list of portion sizes to help out (2)!
8. Did you know that legumes count for up to one of our 5-a-day? Perhaps switch your regular spag bowl for a lentil version?
9. Trial and error – find the ones you like and don’t like. Trying a new fruit or vegetables each week can help you figure out which ones you don’t actually like. This will help increase your confidence in eating fruit and vegetables, as you’ll find the ones you really enjoy.
10. If you’re after a quick snack, make sure you have a stock of prepared fruits and vegetables you can quickly grab. This will stop the temptation of snacking on convenience foods that are high in fat, salt and sugar (3).