FORGET 5-A-DAY, WHY YOU NEED TO BE GETTING 10-A-DAY

 

With news recently revealing the recommended 5 a day is actually only half the amount we need to nourish our bodies for a longer life and optimum health. We asked nutrition expert Jenna Hope for some tips on how to double up!

 

For as long as I can remember we’ve grown up being told we must eat our 5-a-day, be it in the form of dried apples, orange juice, smashed avocado or roasted aubergine. However, more recently it has come to light that we may be better off eating 10-a-day. To those who are currently already struggling with the current 5-a-day recommendations this may come as a shock and quite frankly an unrealistic expectation. However, let me explain why this sudden jump may be necessary, how you can reach your 10-a-day without a sweat and what to consider when choosing your fruit and vegetables.

 

WHY 10 A-DAY?

It’s no secret that fruit and vegetables are a great source of a variety of vitamins and minerals. Each fruit and vegetable contains different micronutrients which is why it is so important to ensure that your diet is hugely varied with the fruits and vegetables you consume. One portion is equal to 80g of a fruit or a vegetable. Research suggests that consuming ten portions a day may reduce the risk of heart disease by 25% and stroke by 30%, this is when being compared with consuming two and a half portions a day which shows a 15% and 18% reduced risk respectively. Evidently, fruit and vegetables play a role in reducing the risks of cardiovascular related diseases. Furthermore, it is arguable that when you are opting for fruits and vegetables as a snack you’re consuming less sugary snacks instead. Consequently, this could help reduce your risk of diabetes, skin disorders and weight gain.

 

HOW AND WHAT?

Your immediate thought might be that consuming this much fresh produce might significantly impact your bank balance too. Eating your ten portions does not necessarily have to be expensive. Frozen and canned fruits and vegetables also count towards your 10-a-day. However, be careful not to buy fruits in syrups or vegetables in sauces as often these are packed with added sugars. Frozen vegetables are great as they’re often already chopped up plus there’s no hurry to eat them. I recommend using them in soups, stews and curries. Below I have listed out my top tips of how to get your 10-a-day in.

 

SIDE NOTE: One thing I would mention is try and eat more vegetables than fruits and make sure you mix things up daily.

  1. Breakfast: try and get at least two portions in here. For example, if you’re having porridge add a portion of blueberries and raspberries (berries are lower in sugars than most fruit). For a savoury option, pack in two or three portions of vegetables into a morning omelette.
  2. Mid-morning snack: If you had a savoury breakfast, opt for a banana, an apple with some nut butter or for a savoury option go for vegetable crudities with hummus.
  3. Lunch: Go for a salad and you can easily have 3 portions of your daily veggies here. Need something warming? Opt for soups, fish or meat with some roasted vegetables, leftover stews or broths.
  4. Mid afternoon snack: a juice is often a great pick- me- up in the afternoon as it gives you a burst of nutrients. Opt for juices which contain more vegetables than fruits to reduce the amount of sugar you’re eating. The Plenish juices contain a large amount of vegetables and will help you reach your 10-a-day with ease. The Fuel juice is my favourite as it is 96% vegetables plus their 500ml bottles contain 1kg of organic product which accumulates to a whole 12.5 portions!
  5. Dinner: Always try and get two to three portions in at dinner; this is a great time to add in some starchy vegetables to increase your carbohydrate intake too. Sweet potatoes, butternut squash, parsnips and celeriac are substantial starchy vegetables. I’d also recommend packing in some green vegetables to get your variety. It’s not difficult to add these to any meal and if you’re making a dish with a sauce try and sneak some vegetables in there too.

 

So there you have it! Your guide of how to increase your fruit and vegetable intake as part of a balanced diet. You don’t have to go crazy just slowly incorporate them into your diet. Begin by adding one portion of fruit or vegetable to every meal or even every day and slowly increase this until you reach your target!

 


 

For more nutrition advice from Jenna, you can follow her here Instagram – @jennahopenutrition and Twitter – @primalhopeuk.

Or visit her blog where she discusses all things nutrition, health, wellness, food and exercise!

Jenna has a Nutrition BSc (hons) and a masters in Nutrition.