How you can encourage your family to eat more fruit and vegetables
We all know that we should eat more fruit and vegetables. Apparently five fruit and veg portions are actually not enough. We should be aiming for about eight or nine portions a day.
One portion is about 80 grams, which could be half a grapefruit, a slice of melon, a handful of grapes, an apple, two Satsumas, three dried apricots or a tablespoon of raisins.
One portion of veg could be three heaped tablespoons of peas, carrots or sweetcorn or a bowl of salad. A medium-sized glass of 100% fruit juice also counts.
Fresh, frozen, tinned and dried fruit and vegetables.
Pure fruit and vegetable juices.
Veg in ready meals, takeaways, pasta sauces and soups.
Fruit in puddings.
But watch out for added salt/ fat/ sugar in takeaways and ready meals – check out the labels.
What doesn’t count?
- You maybe surprised that potatoes don’t count, because they are considered a ‘starchy’ food like bread and pasta, but these are all important parts of a healthy diet. Although jacket potatoes are a healthy option as they are packed full of vitamin C . But remember they still do not count.
- Only one glass of fruit juice counts. This is because fruit juice has hardly any fibre and has loads of sugar which is bad for your teeth.
- More than one portion of beans or pulses a day, because they don’t give the same mixture of vitamins and minerals as fruit and veg.
- Jam, vitamin pills and supplements, as they don’t contain fibre.
- Munching the same fruit or vegetable five times a day does not count either. You need to eat a variety to get the maximum benefits from all the different nutrients.
So here are some easy ways to eat more fruit and vegetables
- Slice banana or another fruit and eat it with your cereal in the morning along with a glass of fruit juice.
- Make your mid morning or afternoon snack an apple or a handful of grapes or raisins rather than a packet of crisps.
- Make up crudite or veg sticks from carrots celery, cucumber, broccoli and cauliflower. Eat with hummus or your favourite dip.
- Add lots of salad into your sandwiches. For example lettuce, cucumber, radishes, or tomatoes.
- Buy cherry tomatoes – these make great finger foods to nibble on and are so much sweeter and easier to eat than larger varieties.
- Add extra vegetables to shop bought pizza, pasta sauces and soups.
- Stir fries, stews and casseroles are any easy way of combining up to nine vegetables in one go. Just pile them in.
- Replace stodgy puddings with a hunk of melon or a fruit salad.
- Have fruit puddings like apple crumble on Sundays.
- For packed lunches get the children to take a carton of shop bought prepared fruit like pineapple in juice, if you don’t think they will eat the apple or banana in their lunch box.
- Replace shop bought yogurt as snacks with shop bought tinned, tubs or frozen fruit.
- Make blueberry muffins.
- Make fruit kebabs by threading bite-sized chunks of apples, pears, strawberries and pineapple onto wooden skewers – you could even grill or barbecue them.
Think outside the box
- For fruit that is getting past its sell-by date either blend to make a smoothies and milkshakes or alternatively freeze to make lollipops.
- Make the fruit or veg look appetising. A few grapes or a bowl of ready prepared strawberries to nibble on make great finger food. for everyone to snack on at any time of day.
- Add at least one additional vegetable portion to your main meal.
- Try some of these recipe ideas
Approaching eating your fruit and veg this way will make eating a minimum of five fruit and vegetable portions a day very easy.