How to eat more fruits & vegetables

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Why should I eat more fruit & veg?

  • Eating a variety of fruit and vegetables will provide you with:
  • Fibre to keep your digestion working properly, regulate blood sugar and help keep you feeling fuller for longer
  • Phytochemicals, antioxidants and flavanols which fight free radicals that cause oxidative damage to the skin (1)

and

  • Green leafy vegetables and cruciferous vegetables such as spinach, kale, broccoli, chard, cauliflower and brussel sprouts provide compounds including indole-3-carbinoles which support the liver (2)
  • Grapes, berries, especially blue/black berries and cherries are especially high in antioxidants (3)

Aim for 8-10 portions of fruit and veg a day.  This should be made up of mostly of vegetables because fruit contains fructose and, although it is a natural sugar, it is still sugar, so limit your intake to 2 pieces a day. Too much sugar will cause abnormal fluctuations in blood sugar levels.

What does 8-10 portions look like?

8-10 portions of vegetables may sound like a lot but this is how you could incorporate plenty of portions into a day:

Breakfast: spinach/kale with eggs, some berries/piece of fruit = 2

Lunch: some carrot sticks followed by a salad/rice bowl with 3 vegetables = 4

Mid afternoon: an apple (+ nuts for added protein!) = 1

Supper: chicken served with sweet potato, green beans, and kale = 3

Total = 10 portions and if you include a juice at the start of your day, that’s another 4-5 portions

 

My Top Ten Tips for getting more fruit and vegetables into your daily diet:

  1. Plan your meals for the week ahead so that you can get organised and make a shopping list
  2. When shopping, buy a variety of fruits and vegetables so that you are able to ‘eat a rainbow’ and keep your diet varied and interesting
  3. Try out some new recipes, even if it’s only a couple of new ones each week. This can help to keep you inspired and enjoy what you are eating
  4. Visit a farmers’ market or your local vegetable stall which can often inspire you and also encourage you to eat some vegetables that do not always spring to mind. Also, seasonally available fresh fruit and veg taste much better than produce which has travelled many air miles
  5. If you are super busy, make shortcuts by buying some pre-prepared vegetables.  There are many products available in the supermarkets, such as cooked lentils, beans, cooked edamame beans etc. and this can make it easier to get more vegetables into your diet
  6. Keep a variety of healthy vegetables at home so that you don’t have to go looking for healthy food
  7. Prepare some crudities in a container, e.g. chopped carrots, cucumber, peppers etc. for snacking and they’ll also be ready for the kids’ tea (a time saving tip too!), ready to use when you open your fridge
  8. Get rid of any unhealthy foods and snacks from your cupboards
  9.  Think ahead - spend a couple of hours at the weekend to cook some food in batches ready for the week ahead such as soups, quinoa, lentils, pulses, hummus, roast vegetables etc. You can then just make up tasty combinations for your meals.  Make extra when you are cooking your evening meal as well so that you have an extra portion for the next day
  10. There is a general misconception that children don’t like vegetables. This is often because they haven’t been given a huge variety of choice and also, if they have not been encouraged to eat them, then they will simply choose not to