Getting your daily recommended servings of 5 fruit and vegetables a day can seem like a daunting task, but when we consider how much food we actually eat on a daily basis, there is no reason why it shouldn't be possible. Unfortunately, whether it is from conditioning as we grow up or another intrinsic factor, many of our favorite snacks and the things which we like to eat the most tend to be unhealthy for us. This is why we often need a little help to get us started on eating more healthily and doing so can help reduce the chance of heart disease, strokes and even some cancers. Keep reading oneHOWTO to get the low-down on how to eat 5 a day fruit and vegetables and see how much better you'll feel once you get started.
- How Much is 5 Portions of Fruit and Vegetables?
- Chart Your Fruit and Vegetable Consumption
- Be Careful of Bad Fruit and Vegetables
- Fruit and Vegetables in Smoothies and Soups
- Explore New Types of Fruit and Vegetables
- Replace Snacks with Fruit and Vegetables
- Fruit and Vegetable Delivery
- Add More Flavor
How Much is 5 Portions of Fruit and Vegetables?
To start off we need to understand what actually is 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day. This is not as easy to understand as it might seem, which is why there have been many international and national campaigns such as the 'Fruits and Veggies - More Matters' initiative in the US. It is important to understand that this is a general rule. We all come in so many different shapes and sizes and our metabolisms can differ for so many reasons (genes, environmental factors, preexisting health conditions). This means eating our 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day will differ in actual quantity with some claiming the range should be anywhere from 4-13 servings a day which is around 2 - 6 1/2 cups per person.
You will also need to be aware that although it is fruit and vegetables we need, be aware that you should eat slightly more vegetables than fruit. This is because although fruit is incredibly good for you, it does contain more (natural) sugars which can turn to fat due the fructose content. However, this is only if you eat a LOT of fruit, so don't et concerned about over eating it, just be careful with things like sweet oranges or overripe bananas and be aware that eating too much of any one thing won't be great for you.
Chart Your Fruit and Vegetable Consumption
A really practical way to help you along is to keep a record of what you eat. There are two main ways to do this: old school and new school.
Old school is to create a chart with a calendar on it to see how much many portions of fruit and vegetables you are eating daily. Beside each day you can have 5 spaces and you fill them in at the end of the day to see how much you are eating and to encourage you. It is part of a gamification strategy where you give yourself a target and try to meet it. You can even offer rewards for eating more.
New school is to use an app which does the same, but digitally. It saves you buying art materials and you can update it on the move.
Be Careful of Bad Fruit and Vegetables
One way to eat your 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day and stay healthy is to be aware. Many foods which either claim to be part of your 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day are actually hiding copious amounts of sugars or additives which might counteract the benefits which you receive from eating them in the first place. One example of this might be a pie (say pumpkin pie) which may contain fresh pumpkin which is good for you, but also contains a lot of added sugar which certainly isn't when eaten in large quantities. Canned fruit can be a great way to eat more, but if you buy the kind in syrup then you are eating so much sugar as to make it generally more unhealthy for you. Savory foods like gratins or omelettes might contain vegetables which are good for you, but they also might contain a lot of fat or sodium which won't be.
Even something seemingly healthy like yogurt covered raisins are actually high in sugar as are many fruit juices which contain lots of high fructose corn syrup even if they might look healthy on the packaging.
Fruit and Vegetables in Smoothies and Soups
While it might seem like drudgery trying to eat 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day, the way you are ingesting them can be part of the problem. For fruit, if you put it in a blender you can make a great tasting smoothie which provide al the same nutrients if you were to chew them one by one. You can also blend some fruit you really enjoy with others that are good for you, but you don't enjoy as much, to make them more palatable. You can even freeze fruit and put it directly in which will help to stop wastage.
Similarly, when eating vegetables you can make soups and sauces using fresh vegetables and blending them together can be a great way to eat more of them. You can add some natural flavors to make them more enjoyable too, just be careful when adding things like stock or bullion as they can have a lot of salt in them.
Explore New Types of Fruit and Vegetables
We may see eating 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day as mundane, but there are so many interesting natural treats out there, you really could be missing out. Explore new types of fruit and vegetables you either haven't tried before or have even never heard of. Did you know that you can get purple broccoli or blue corn? With the import/export market bigger than it has ever been, you can get eve rare fruits and vegetables which just might be to your liking. There are interesting fruits like jackfruit or even some really interesting fruits from India you may not have tried.
Replace Snacks with Fruit and Vegetables
Replacing unhealthy snacks with fruit and vegetables is also a great way to eat all of your 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day. Although a nice slice of cake or a cookie is a delicious snack (and absolutely fine as part of a balanced diet), eating an apple or some celery will still stop those food cravings, but also give you then energy you need to get through the day. they may not give you the instant hit of adrenaline some of these more unhealthy treats might provide, but they'll make you healthier in the long run which will keep you going for longer.
Fruit and Vegetable Delivery
With the rise of the Internet there is a new world of possibility in healthy eating opening up. There are many companies out there like Nature Box, Blue Apron or Graze which take your food preferences (and dietary restrictions) and will send you a package with these foodstuff which are appropriate for them. They will offer a wide range of foods, but many will have options to promote healthier eating. These may range from mid-day snacks to full meals, but they all can help organize your diet to include more fruit and veg so you might better be able to eat 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day. they do this by doing the thinking for you and sending you what you need.
Add More Flavor
If you find it difficult to actually eat the vegetables because to you they don't taste very nice, you can always make them more interesting. Humus may contain some fat, but if you make it at home it can really be good for you. Eat it with some raw carrot sticks and you'll get more flavor while still hitting your aim for 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day. Natural yogurt can help your digestive system, so adding a little honey and a lot of chopped up fruit will be great for you.
Although eating 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day can seem like a lot, it may not even be enough. A study in the UK from 2014 claims the minimum for a really healthy life may be as much as 10 portions, so use this guide to help you get started and think about ways you can really incorporate them into your diet.
If you have more ideas, share them in the comments below!
This article is merely informative, OneHowTo does not have the authority to prescribe any medical treatments or create a diagnosis. We invite you to visit your doctor if you have any type of condition or pain.
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