Are you getting your 5 a day?
Vegetables bring so many health benefits (see previous blog) such as increasing energy, supporting our immune health, feeding our good bacteria in the gut and helping with hormone balance. However, are you getting enough in your diet? Government guidance is that we should be eating five portions of fruit and vegetables a day, but a recent National Diet and Nutrition Survey found that only a third of adults were eating their five a day, with an average of 4.3 portions a day consumed.
For many health conditions I would actually recommend going higher than five portions a day. I tend to start with working people up to seven portions a day, but some recommend even higher at 10 to 11 portions.
However, don’t feel disheartened if you know you struggle to get fruit and vegetables into your diet. Here are some easy tips to help boost your intake.
- Drink smoothies
This is the easiest way to boost your fruit and vegetable intake by an extra 2 to 4 portions. Add in some protein with nut butter or seeds or some healthy fats with avocado or coconut oil along with some spices such as ginger or cinnamon and you have created a power packed boost of nutrients. Check out the smoothie recipes in my immune support guide or the recipes on my website.
2. Include fruit and vegetable at breakfast
Start getting your portions in at every meal. Having a smoothie for breakfast, adding fruit to granola or overnight oats, or having some spinach, mushrooms and tomatoes with eggs for breakfast can get in one to two portions.
3. Pack in some vegetables at lunch
Having soups or salads are an easy way to get in at least two portions of vegetables at lunch and you can keep changing the vegetables to give you variety (see soup recipes on my website).
4. Add in extra vegetables to existing meals
Increase the number of vegetables in existing meals, for example in this shepherd’s pie recipe. If making mashed potato, add in some sweet potato or cauliflower. Add in some extra vegetables to sauces or add a handful of spinach.
5. Snack on fruit and vegetables
Fruit and vegetables combined with protein make a great snack that will also keep you fuller for longer. Try apple dipped in nut butter, grapes and nuts, celery, carrot and pepper sticks with hummus or guacamole.
Try to eat more vegetables than fruit, as the natural sugars in fruit can add up if you have too much. I usually advise two-thirds vegetables and one third fruit.
Gradually build up your fruit and vegetable intake and you’ll soon be on your way to at least 7 portions a day!
The information contained above is provided for information purposes only. The contents of this blog are not intended to amount to advice and you should not rely on any of the contents of this blog. Professional advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from taking any action as a result of the contents of this blog. Emma Belton Nutrition disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on any of the contents of this blog.
Aune, D., Giovannucci, E., Boffetta, P., Fadnes, L. T., Keum, N., Norat, T., & Tonstad, S. (2017). Fruit and vegetable intake and the risk of cardiovascular disease, total cancer and all-cause mortality—a systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of prospective studies. International journal of epidemiology, 46(3), 1029-1056.
Oyebode, O., Gordon-Dseagu, V., Walker, A., & Mindell, J. S. (2014). Fruit and vegetable consumption and all-cause, cancer and CVD mortality: analysis of Health Survey for England data. J Epidemiol Community Health, 68(9), 856-862.