I appeared on BBC Berkshire’s health panel today with Sarah Walker, where one of the items that have been in the press this week is that only one person in five, is actually eating their five- a day recommended amount of fruit and veg!

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Some of your 5-a-day

We discussed why this is when many of us were brought up eating vegetables, and I think the two main reasons are time and cost.

Not everyone is prepared to take soup to work or get up that bit earlier to prepare salad in a lunchbox, especailly if there is a work canteen or sandwich van that visits, and after a long day working and looking after the family, the thought of peeling, chopping and cooking different vegetables is a step too far.
People also perceive that fruits and vegetables are costly, and whilst some tropical fruits (and asparagus at the moment) can be pricey, many vegetables such as a greens, carrots or even frozen peas won’t break the bank. 
You you can pick your own fruit and veg quite cheaply or even grow it!
Often I see people who are only eating two or three portions of their five day, usually made up of one piece of fruit and one or two veggies with their dinner but getting to five is easy peasy; one apple as a snack, two vegetables with dinner, some berries and yoghurt for dessert, and a glass of juice (diluted with water to reduce down the fructose concentration).
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If you are really keen it’s not too difficult to get to ten portions, I often do, and here’s how:
  1. A piece of fruit or raw vegetables as a snack e.g. apple or carrot sticks
  2. Two portions in a lunchtime soup (think carrot and lentil)  or salad e.g. rocket and cherry tomatoes
  3. Fruit after lunch e.g. bunch of grapes
  4. One portion in your evening meal e.g. onions or mushrooms, and two served with your meal e.g. broccoli and peas
  5. Fruit for dessert e.g. strawberries or baked apple or slice of melon
  6. Glass of diluted juice
  7. Banana at bedtime or even in a cake (homemade too really count)!

So what constitutes as a portion?  Basically two small fruits such as plums, two/three broccoli spears, three tbsp of vegetables such as peas or carrots, 1 small tin of pulses (baked beans, lentils, etc) or a glass of juice, but note – juice and pulses can only count once.  And potatoes don’t count (unless they’re sweet potatoes).  Fresh, frozen or tinned fruits and veg count apparently, but I wouldn’t include tinned as most of the nutrients are destroyed in the canning process.

And no, I’m not counting the pineapple on your pizza!


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