fruit and veg

5 A Day - Fruit & Vegetables

So are you sure you know what this means. Can you do it all with an extra large smoothie, or do you have to eat spinach or worse still brussels for it to count? We give you the facts to help you understand.

Eating "5 a day" is a simple rule of thumb that is there to try and help you balance your daily diet! The theory goes, that if you eat 5 a day, you'll be on the road to a fitter and healthier you.

Does This Work?

The idea behind 5 a day is that you eat five daily portions that contain both fruit and vegetables. While some of us may regard fruit and veg as boring, with a little bit of imagination, youll discover theres a huge amount of variety to be found in a 5 a day diet.

In fact, variety really is the spice of life as making sure you get plenty of different types of fruit and vegetables is the best way to ensure you get the nutrients, fibres, vitamins and minerals that you need. This is not about starving yourself; in fact, you can eat just about as much fruit and veg as you want. It's a far more realistic and long-term way of controlling your weight.

Is 5 A Day a Good Mantra?

Yes, as eating plenty of fruit and vegetables gives huge advantages for your health. For a start, eating plenty of fruit and veg makes you less likely to develop heart disease. They contain high quantities of the minerals and vitamins that are essential to keep your body running smoothly.

Fruit and vegetables help boost your immune system and reduce the risks of developing cancer. They provide plenty of the vital fibre and antioxidants that help keep you strong and energetic. As they're low in fat, added sugars and calories, they also won't cause you to pile on the pounds.

There's one minor point to note with increased fruit intake. Natural sugar, Fructose, is a carbohydrate and if you are not balancing your diet, these extra calories could statr to increase your weight. In addition, too much citric fruit will damage your teeth enamel.

Some Tips for Breakfast

Why not at least start your day the best way possible by getting 2 of the 5 in before you leave the house!

  • Add a little fruit to your cereal or porridge. You'll need to eat a banana, or a large handful of berries or an apple to count as 1 of the 5 a day!
  • Make a chanhge and have an omlette? Add mushrooms or peppers and there's a portion too.
  • Finally, drink 150ml of freshly squeezed juice.

See it's so easy to get those additional vitamins and minerals by combing foods at the same meal.

Tips for Lunch and Dinner

Breakfast is of course the most important meal of the day, but don't forget your other meal times.

  • Include a salad (without creamy cheese ranch dressing!)
  • Add a side dish of veg! Broccoli or Green beans go with most things
  • If you have not had a juice for breakfast, have a 150ml juice
  • Ensure you add lentils or beans to recipes - these count as 1 portion of veg!

The simplest thing is to steam the veg as your main meal cooks, and add to the plate. It tastes great and ensures you add another portion of veg to your day! Do two different veg (carrots and peas say) and you can notch up 2 portions of your 5.

The Snack!

Okay this is where most will fall down on their weight loss plan, so substitute some crunch veg and you'll not only be seeing your 5 a day, you'll cut out the biscuits, cream buns, cakes and wot not.

  • A piece of fruit - orange, apple or peach
  • Carrot sticks or celery sticks
  • Nuts - mixed, sunflower or pumpkin seeds

In Summary

Most people, particularly young people, in Britain don't have enough fruit and veg in their diets and this is a major threat to their future health. Just upping the amount of fruit and vegetables, particularly green vegetables, you eat can make a huge difference to your well being.

Further Reading

NHS Live Well - http://www.nhs.uk/livewell/Pages/Livewellhub.aspx

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