5 A Day
Fruit and vegetables are really important for a healthy diet. They not only taste great but they provide fibre, antioxidants, and essential vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C, folate and potassium. Research has shown that eating fruit and veg helps to counter obesity and can reduce the risks of heart disease, stroke, and different types of cancer. With as many as a third of children aged 2-15 in the UK classified as overweight, encouraging a healthy balanced diet is more important than ever.
In 2003 the UK government introduced a campaign called “5 A Day” to encourage a greater consumption of fruit and vegetables in the population. Sixteen years later, only 31% of adults between 19 and 64 are consuming 5 a day. Even more worryingly, only 18% of children between 5 and 15 eat their 5 a day. It is evident that this scheme hasn’t been enough to change people’s eating habits.
What is Stopping People?
Fruit and veg are often expensive to buy in supermarkets, which puts people off. However, there are cheaper alternatives. Frozen vegetables are just as nutritious as the fresh alternatives, and they are already chopped which makes them really easy to use. Tinned fruit and vegetables are also great. Both can be stored for a long time, which reduces the risk of fruit and veg going to waste.
Using frozen and tinned fruit and vegetables means that a variety of both can be used in each meal. Simply add a handful of different fruits to your cereal or porridge in the morning, or add a selection of vegetables to a stew or curry for dinner.
Another great idea to save money and enjoy fresh food is to grow your own fruit and vegetables! Working with Hands of Hope is a great way to gain fresh air and exercise, and also the chance to discover how a seed can grow into a plant and produce food that tastes amazing!
Reaching 5 A Day
Add fruit to cereals or porridge in the morning. You could use raspberries, blueberries, or blackberries. In the shops these are expensive however scavenging is a great option for something fun to do with the children. There are plenty of wild blackberries around at the moment! Raspberries can be grown in the garden and they taste so good.
Alternatively, you can buy a mix of frozen berries in the supermarket which is cheaper than buying individual packets of fresh fruits.
Make soup. Soups can be packed full of a variety of vegetables and there are plenty of different flavours to discover. For example, try making carrot and coriander (both of which can be grown in the garden), leek and potato, or sweet potato with a little curry powder. The list is endless.
Not only is soup a great way to incorporate veggies into your diet, it is a good option for vegetables which are on the turn. Using them up reduces food waste and saves money.
Make a simple pasta sauce using a tin of tomatoes and some frozen veggies, a few herbs and a stock cube. It tastes yummy and is such an easy way to contribute to your 5 a day.
Pulses like lentils and chickpeas also count as one of your five a day. These are full of protein and fibre and combined with vegetables they make some great meals which are not only cheap but nutritious. Pulses will bulk out meals and fill you up. Try adding them to a chilli, casserole or a curry. You could also make interesting salads with them or cook a tasty veggie lasagna.
Reaching your 5 a day doesn’t have to be a challenge. In fact, it may surprise you how easy it is to eat five different types of fruit and vegetables in a day after you’ve implemented some of these tips.
This article was originally written for Helping hands charity https://www.hohcharity.co.uk/