Published on: 07/04/2017 (11:25AM)
It’s always best to get the advice of a health professional before changing your diet drastically. But if you just want to introduce more fruit and veg gradually into your lifestyle, there are plenty of ways to do this easily!
Here are 5 top tips:
1) Taste a rainbow!
Try new things and aim to eat a rainbow of different coloured fruit and veg. That way you’ll get maximum nutrients and it won’t get boring. Make a fruit kebab!
Potatoes don’t count!
The bad news is that as you may have guessed, chips (and potatoes in all their guises such as mash/roasties) do NOT count. This is mainly because they are seen as a source of carbohydrates rather than fruit or veggies from a nutrition point of view. However, the good news is that you can count sweet potatoes as 1 of your 5-a-day and they are readily available in supermarkets.
Fruit juice and smoothies (shop bought or homemade) can count towards your 5-a-day, which is great news for those of you who aren’t keen on snacking on raw veg. As juices/smoothies lose some fibre (part of what’s great about fruit) and they can both be high in sugar, you can only count one portion per day, no matter how many glasses you drink. A 150ml glass is plenty. Tip – if you make too much smoothie why not freeze some in ice-lolly moulds for a low-fat snack another day?
Throwing a banana or apple in your bag to eat during the day can boost your fruit count of course. But there are loads of other options. Why not try mini carrots/sliced pepper with a small pot of hummus, or freeze half a banana stuck on a lolly stick for an ice pop alternative -yes really – try it! Another option is a bit of dried fruit such as raisins, sultanas, or something more exotic like mango. The sugars are concentrated in the drying process, so dried fruit counts as just 1 portion no matter how much you eat.
Sneak it in!
Still hate veg? It’s really easy to hide vegetables in everyday dishes. Try blitzing or grating carrot, onion, courgette or celery into tiny pieces and add to anything from a Bolognese sauce to chilli. Or chuck in a few tinned lentils! We promise you’ll barely know it’s there and you’ll boost up the vitamin content of your meal.
There are lots more ideas on how to incorporate more fruit and veg on the Change for Life website
They also have their own Twitter feed @Change4Life so you can keep up to date with healthy recipes.
Also, make sure you check out the NHS’s website for more useful advice.