5 easy ways to get your “5 A Day”

Have you ever wondered where the “5 a day” comes from? The “5 a day” recommendation is based on advice from the World Health Organization (WHO), which recommends eating a minimum of 400 grams, or 5 x 80 grams portion, of fruit and veg a day. Research shows that easting at least 400 grams of plant foods reduces the risk of serious health problems, such as heart disease, stroke and some types of cancer, and helps to ensure an adequate daily intake of fibre.

It’s important to note that 400g or 5 portions a day is really a minimum, and we should aim to eat more than that if we want to experience more profound positive effects on health, not just reduce the risk of serious diseases.

“5 a day” may sound like a lot, but 1 portion (80 grams) is a medium banana or a handful of berries, a half of courgette or pepper, 8 florets of cauliflower or broccoli, and 3 heaped tablespoons of peas or sweetcorn.

But how can you make sure you get your “5 a day”?

Anna Pinnock Nutrition | 5 easy ways to get your 5 a day | United Kingdom’

1. Make an omelette or frittata– perfect for breakfast or lunch, just whisk up eggs with veggies like onions, mushrooms, broccoli and peppers – or anything else you like or have in the fridge.

2. Cauli rice and courgette noodles – these are alternatives to your normal rice and pasta. You can get them ready-made from a supermarket, or make your own. Simply chop a cauliflower into florets and pulse in a food processor until the cauliflower resembles rice-like consistency. Then, sauté with olive oil, spices, or a dash of soya sauce.
Similarly, courgette noodles can be made with a spiraliser, then sautéed with olive oil and garlic, and used in dishes that call for noodles, pasta or with a salad.

3.Stir-fries, stews, curries, casserole, pasta bakes – these are great to increase veggie content, especially if you use cauli rice and courgette noodles. Be brave and experiment. Frozen veg can work well in stews and curries, and they’re often cheaper than fresh. Okra, sweet potato, butternut, peas, green beans are good example, and also there is no need to wash, peel and chop them.

4. Smoothies – these are great, but it’s important to incorporate vegetables and protein into them, so that they’re not too sugary. Think of adding ripe avocado, a handful of spinach, kale, almond butter, flaxseeds, and low sugar fruit such as berries, or cherries. They can even be made into ice lollies in summer too.

5. Smuggle veggies in mash or homemade pasta sauce and burgers – add swede, parsnip or celeriac to your mash, or make mash from sweet potato or cauliflower. By making your own tomato sauce you can add chopped carrot, pepper or roasted butternut. Making burgers at home is also a great way to smuggle in some veggies such as grated courgette, carrot, mushrooms, sweet corn or broccoli – perfect if you have children who are not keen on veggies!

If you make sure you have some fruit and veg with every meal through the day, or even as a snack, you can easily reach and even smash the “5 a day” target.

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Anna Pinnock Nutrition | 5 easy ways to get your 5 a day | United Kingdom
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