I should start by saying that a recent 12 year study by UCL confirmed what nutritionists already knew, that 5 a day isn’t enough for optimal health. 10 a day is where you need to be to live a longer and healthier life.
For most people this is a daunting prospect, as only 30% of the population currently manage to eat 5 a day. However, it only takes a small shift in your approach to your meals and you can be hitting your 10 a day before you know it. Here are easy ways to get more fruit and vegetables in your diet;
Start at Breakfast. Add in a portion or 2 with your first meal of the day. Mushrooms, tomatoes, avocado, peppers are all delicious to have with eggs. Or if you are more an oats person add fresh or stewed fruit. Breakfast smoothies can pack a punch too. Check out this recipe for a Raw Cherry Choc Smoothie with 1.5 portions…
- ½ Banana
- 50g Frozen dark cherries
- 30g Hemp protein powder
- 2tsp Raw cacao powder
- 100ml Pure Pomegranate juice
- 100ml Almond milk
Blend all ingredients together
If you can, add a Green Juice. Make sure this one is all veggies, fruit juice without the fibre is pure sugar and should be avoided. Great bases that produce a high yield of juice includes cucumber and celery, leafy greens such as spinach, kale and parsley adds nutrient density. Ginger and lemon are great lifters of the flavour as well as being alkaline and anti-inflammatory. Drink this every day, your liver will love you and your skin will glow.
Ditch the bread and choose a salad instead – At lunch get your complex carbohydrates from healthy vegetables. Tomatoes, cucumber, lettuce, beets, roasted vegetables can quickly add up 2 or 3 portions. Add some pulses, beans or chickpeas as your protein and fibre, keeping your fuller for longer, these also count towards your 10 a day.
Keep fruit in the freezer – fruits grown in season have a higher nutrient density and better flavour, the freezing process locks this in. Always have some organic berries or cherries ready available. I like to eat them as frozen mini icicles as dessert.
Snacks are a perfect time to get a few more portions in, match fruit or vegetable with a lean protein to make a balance snack keeping the blood sugar blues at bay. Perfect choices are carrot sticks and hummus, egg and edamame pot, nectarine and almonds, celery sticks with peanut butter.
At dinner instead of overloading on refined carbs such as rice, pasta or potatoes substitute starchy colourful vegetables such as roast butternut squash, sweet potato wedges, beetroots or carrots, then double or triple up on your portions by added leafy greens and Mediterranean vegetables.