As you may have seen on the news recently, the Government has changed its advice regarding our fruit and vegetable intake; recommending that we should be eating up to 10 portions rather than just the standard 5-a-day to gain the full nutritional benefits.
How many do YOU have a day? In a recent report from the National Diet and Nutrition Survey (a continuous research programme carried out by Public Health England looking at the diet, nutrient intake and nutritional status of the general population), it found only 8% of children aged 11-18 are getting their 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day, with only 27% of 19-64 year olds and 35% of over 65s doing the same. Pretty shocking stuff!
Tips for hitting that 10-a-day
Every meal or snack is a chance to enjoy some fruit or vegetables – and don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be boring or unimaginative! Here are some tasty and easy ways to help you reach that magical target of 10:
- Add chopped fresh, dried or frozen fruit on top of porridge, overnight oats, cereal or yogurt
- Whizz up a mixture of fruit and vegetables (frozen ones work wonderfully) with some form of liquid like coconut water or fruit juice, perhaps some oats and yogurt, plus nut/seed butter or flaxseeds for a healthy fat boost to make a tasty smoothie OR serve as a smoothie bowl
- Serve eggs with toast plus tomatoes, avocado, mushrooms, spinach – whatever you’ve got in the fridge
- A bowl of vegetable-packed soup is a great way to include veggies at lunch
- Enjoy a large salad or ‘buddha’ bowl filled with some form of carbohydrates, protein plus all kinds of different vegetables – cooked broccoli, sweetcorn, tomatoes, avocado, celery, sweet potato – the opportunities are endless
- Did you know that pulses and beans also count as 1 portion? Add these to soups and salads to bulk the dish out and add protein
- Include a few pieces of fruit or make a fruit salad in a tub with a selection of your favourites to make it a little more exciting
- Raw sticks of carrots, celery, peppers, cucumber are ideal for dipping into things like hummus, salsa, guacamole – and a sneaky way of fitting veggies in, especially if the dip contains vegetables too!
- Apple or banana chunks sprinkled with cinnamon and served with nut butter has to be one of my favourite combinations
- It’s easy to buy vegetable or fruit crisps these days so look out for them as a crunchy snack – a bit healthier than normal potato crisps
- Make vegetables the basis for the meal: Ratatouille, Chilli Con Carne, risotto, Mexican dishes, casseroles, one-pot dishes,,, Then add protein like meat, fish or pulses and serve with rice, potatoes, quinoa etc. Use herbs and spices to jazz these up!
- Serve extra vegetables on the side too: Broccoli with chilli and garlic, seasoned corn-on-the-cob, roasted vegetables, sweet potato wedges, courgetti…the list goes on!
- Whizz up frozen banana chunks with some avocado, cacoa powder and some form of sweetener for an instant but delicious and healthy chocolate ice cream
- Or blend with frozen berries for a summery twist and top with even more to cool down on a hot day, the healthy way
- Make fruit the basis for pudding – add it to crumbles, sponges, cheesecakes, even baked goodies like brownies (beetroot or sweet potato work amazingly!)
- Bake apples, bananas, rhubarb in the oven and serve with yogurt and granola for something with an extra crunch
How to further boost your nutrients
Although it is important to get our nutrients from food, it might not be always possible, particularly for those who are unable to eat certain things thanks to intolerances, allergies or even just having a dislike to some foods.
This is where a multivitamin like Alive! Women’s Energy Soft Jells can act as a ‘top up’ to your diet to help ensure you’re hitting the required amounts of vitamins and minerals for a healthy body, inside and out. While this contains Vitamins C, B6, B12 and Biotin which support normal energy, they also provide Vitamin D – essential for the maintenance of normal bones, a nutrient some people may be lacking from their diet.
Made with a unique dried blend of 26 fruit and vegetables with orange and berry natural fruit flavours, Alive! Soft Jells are suitable for vegetarians and such an easy way to incorporate into your normal routine. You can find them in Holland & Barrett both in-store and online, or direct from Nature’s Way.
So now there’s no excuse not to be boosting your nutrient intake and feeling great on the inside and out!
Disclaimer: This post has been written in association with Alive! – all views and ideas are my own, with advice on how the product can fit into a healthy lifestyle.