We’re advised to eat at least seven portions of fruits and vegetables but in reality, many of us don’t actually do this. If you’re guilty of not getting your seven-a-day, here are some tips for boosting your intake.
Why You Need Your Seven-a-Day
Experts don’t strongly recommend that you eat at least seven portions of fruit and vegetables per day for no reason – there are some definite health benefits associated with getting your seven-a-day and these include reducing your risk of heart disease, strokes, Type 2 diabetes and some types of cancer.
What Counts as Your Seven-a-Day?
Before you think of how to increase your fruit and veg quota, make sure that you’re fully clued-up on what exactly can be included in your seven-a-day. For example, potatoes don’t count as one of your seven-a-day so while they’re definitely recommended as part of a balanced diet, they won’t help towards reaching your quota.
How to Pack More Fruit and Veg Into Your Diet
Now that you’re sold on why you need to eat plenty of fruit and vegetables, you’re probably wondering how you can up your intake without it feeling like a chore. Here are some tips on doing just that.
Drink fruit juice at breakfast.
Start the day with a glass of fruit juice and you’ve got one portion of your five-a-day ticked off straight away. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you can just stock up on fruit juice to boost your quota – the inferior nutritional qualities compared to real fruit and vegetables means that fruit juice only counts as one portion no matter how many glasses you drink.
Add fruit to your breakfast.
Get an added fruit boost by slicing some fruit and topping your cereal with it.
Get healthy with snacks.
Instead of reaching for crisps, chocolate bars, and biscuits when you’re feeling hungry, grab something a bit healthier instead. For example, a piece of fruit can make you feel fuller for longer and has less calories. Or if you prefer, snack on a handful of dried fruit. The latter can contain quite a bit in the way of sugar though so isn’t necessarily the best option for snacking on a lot.
It doesn’t have to be fresh.
Fresh fruit and vegetables may well be the best option for getting vitamins and minerals but tinned and canned varieties still count as well. Not being completely reliant on fresh fruit and vegetables has the added bonus of less wastage thanks to the longer shelf life, which is great for the frugal-minded amongst us!
Add vegetables to meals.
If you’re not keen on vegetables, try hiding them within meals by adding them to soup, casseroles or pasta dishes. Making your own dishes is a healthier alternative to buying ready meals as you’ve got much more control over how much salt and sugar will be present and gives greater scope for adding vegetables to make them even more nutritious. As well as being healthier, homemade meals usually work out to be cheaper than their pre-prepared counterparts so it’s well worth taking the time to do.
Get creative when eating out.
Eating out doesn’t mean that you can’t find ways to get one (or more) of your seven-a-day into the bargain. You can make eating out healthier by adding stir-fried vegetables to Chinese takeaways, having mushrooms on pizza toppings, side dishes of vegetables or salads for starters.
Get into the habit of asking yourself how you can get more fruits and vegetables into your diet. Once you start to do this, you might be surprised at how easily you can find ways to increase your quota.