Is “getting your five-a-day” still sound advice?
What’s the optimal fruit and veg goal? And how can you eat more vegetables in your daily diet?
Vegetables, fruits, berries, and leafy greens are fantastic for weight loss and general health.
They are low-calorie, high fibre, and packed with important micronutrients including antioxidants that help our bodies repair and rebuild.
Most people could do with eating more vegetables and fruits in their daily diet.
In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever met someone who ate too much!
But it’s not always that easy.
Whether you love veg but get stuck in a rut with recipes, or dislike the taste or texture of many vegetables, this blog post will help you out.
How Much Fruit And Veg Should We Eat?
The NHS Live Well and the British Nutrition Foundation recommendation five servings of fruit and veg a day, with the British Nutrition Foundation adding that fruit and vegetables should make up around one-third of what you eat each day. (1) (2)
The World Health Organisation recommends a minimum of 400g of fruit and vegetables per day (excluding potatoes and other starchy tubers) to help prevent chronic diseases including obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
However, a recent Imperial College London meta-analysis suggests that increasing this to 10 servings of fruit and veg a day – equivalent to about 800g – would have an astounding impact on health outcomes and could save 7.8 million premature deaths a year. (4)
My advice? I suggest you focus on vegetables more than fruit, particularly if you’re trying to lose weight.
There is nothing wrong with fruit, but it tends to be higher in sugar than vegetables.
Aim for three servings of vegetables, and two servings of fruit per day – a serving being a fist-sized serving of vegetables or one whole piece of fruit.
If you can eat more vegetables, fantastic – go for it!
5 Big Benefits Of Eating Enough Vegetables And Fruits
1.) Micronutrients: Vegetables, fruits, and berries are excellent sources of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants which are important for long term health and immunity
2.) Weight Loss: Vegetables and fruit are an excellent part of your weight loss diet because they’re very low fat and low calorie (due to high water content)
3.) Gut Health: They are also an easy way to get more fibre in your diet
4.) Weight Maintenance: Fruit and veg will help you keep your weight stable by filling you up without adding excess calories
5.) Health And Longevity: A diet high in vegetables and fruits is linked to better cholesterol levels and blood pressure, and a lower risk of heart disease, stroke, cardiovascular disease, cancer, obesity, and early death
Easy Ways To Eat More Veg
Eat them at every meal and snack – not just your evening meal! Consider berries, mushrooms, tomatoes, or spinach with breakfast or brunch.
Crudites for snacks. Salads for lunch, and vegetables for evening meal.
Set aside 30 minutes after a food shop to chop and portion out vegetables so you have them on hand for lunches and snacks.
Add extra vegetables to meals: spinach wilts down into most things, courgettes can be grated into lots of dishes, diced carrot makes a good base, cauliflower absorbs seasoning and marinades.
Chop and freeze extra fruit and veg, particularly seasonal things which are plentiful for a few weeks of the year.
Experiment with different ways of preparing vegetables: steamed, raw, grated, roasted, stir-fried, made into soups. You may find a new favourite.
Try to eat as many different coloured vegetables as possible, they all contain different vitamins and minerals.
Aim to buy one new vegetable every time you do a big shop – make it a fun challenge for the family and expand your horizons.
Don’t forget that frozen veg and fruit are just as good as fresh (often better, because freezing retains the nutrients).
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References for today’s blog: