How to get more fruit and vegetables in your diet

Fruit and veg do so many good things for your body, and the government recommends that we try to eat 5 portions of fruit and vegetables per day to make the most of these benefits to our health. This however, can sometimes feel like a challenge, so here are a few helpful tips and ideas to get you that extra fruit and veg in your diet.

Breakfast:

  • If you like a cooked breakfast especially at the weekends, add some frozen bell pepper strips to your scrambled eggs, or a handful of defrosted frozen spinach.  If you like a full english, make sure you add tomatoes, mushrooms or beans in place of that slice of fried bread or hash brown.

  • A 150 ml glass of fruit juice counts as a portion, but just the one, but be careful, if you are buying cartons of juice to check the sugar content particularly if you are trying to lose weight as they can contain more sugar than you think.

  • Try making a homemade smoothie, they are better than the bought ones and cheaper too, give them an extra vitamin boost by adding a handful of fresh kale or spinach.

  • If you prefer a good old fashioned bowl of cereal or porridge, sprinkle a handful of berries on the top.

Lunch: 

  • Add some salad or a spoonful of salsa to your sandwich, in place of high calorie mayonnaise.

  • If you like a baked potato for your lunch, go for low fat coleslaw, or a rich bean chilli con carne instead of cheese and butter.

  • If you are partial to a tin of soup at lunch time, why not try making your own vegetable soup, it's a good way to use up leftover vegetables and potatoes that might otherwise end up in the bin.  A large pan of homemade soup should make enough for at least 3 to 4 days and you can freeze it in portions if you don't want to use it all in the same week.

  • If you usually grab a meal deal from your local grocery store at lunchtime, try selecting a bag of prepared fruit or vegetable sticks instead of crisps or chocolate, you can snack on these all afternoon to avoid that mid afternoon lull.

Dinner:

  • Don’t put pressure on yourself into having to peel and prepare lots of fresh vegetables for your evening meal. If you are too busy or too tired, using frozen vegetables can be a great option, in fact most frozen vegetables are packed and frozen at the peak of their freshness so can actually contain more vitamins and minerals than fresh ones that have been sitting in the supermarket or refrigerator for days before use.

  • Most supermarkets sell frozen diced or sliced onions, bell peppers and mushrooms, which are great for throwing together a quick stir fry or pasta sauce mixed with a can of tomatoes.

  • If you have fussy eaters that don't like vegetables, chopping them up really small or blending them and adding to stews, pies and sauces like bolognese can be a good way of getting a few extra portions in a meal without anyone realising.

  • Bulk up things like shepherd's pies and chilli’s with extra beans like red kidney beans, black beans or chickpeas, they can make a meal go further so you don't need to use as much meat which can be a great way to save money, and they also contain protein and fibre too.

Snacks:

  • Keep a supply of things like carrot or celery sticks, in an airtight container in the fridge so if you feel the need to munch something they are ready and waiting for you.

  • Slice an apple and serve it with a spoonful of peanut butter to dip the slices in.

  • Get the kids to help you make fruit kebabs, use your favourite fruits or try something new, cut into small cubes on a skewer can be a fun way to try new things and getting the kids to eat healthier snacks too.

The British Heart Foundation has created a helpful guide so that you can work out portion sizes for different fruit and vegetables. Follow this link to see the BHF guide.

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How to get more fruit and vegetables in your diet