Posts tagged with: fruits

Five Friday Facts about Fabulous Five

We all know about the recommendations to have 5 a Day. It’s a great, simple step to ensure we all eat more fruits and vegetables.

I love this recommendation because it’s easy to remember and easy to set as a goal. Those of you who visit regularly know I’m a big fan of SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Resourced and Timed) and 5 a Day fits into that format well.

But I wonder … how many of us actually eat five portions of fruit or vegetables a day?

I suspect, we’re not as good as we might hope to be. I know, I’m not. (Though I’m getting better).

I have to make a conscious effort to add fruit and vegetables into my diet at each meal or as snacks. Even then, many days I manage 3 or 4, but not the full 5. One of my goals for this year is to make 5 a Day an unconscious part of my daily diet – in other words, a habit.

To help make this easier, I dug out some facts to help really embed this idea into my brain. I found some very helpful information on the NHS site – the UK’s health service. For once, they’ve done a great job with easy to understand tips and facts.

So here are five facts to think about:

1. Portion sizes are manageable! For example: 80g/approx 3 oz of fresh fruit or 30g/1 oz of dried fruit or 80g/approx 3 oz of vegetables. Or to put it another way, half a large grapefruit or a tablespoon of raisins or 3 heaped tablespoons of cooked vegetables or a cereal bowl of salad. Also a 150ml/approx 1/3 of a pint of fresh, unsweetened fruit or vegetable juice.

Note: You can only count beans and other pulses as one of your 5 a day, no matter how much you eat. This is because, though high in fibre, they don’t have the level of vitamins and other nutrients that other fruit and vegetables do.

Similarly, no matter how much fruit juice you drink, it can only be 1 of your 5!

2. Potatoes, yams and plantains don’t count towards the 5 a day (I think that’s wrong BTW! I think they should count as a max of 1!), but other root vegetables like parsnips, suede (rutabaga) and turnips do. On the other hand, potatoes do add a healthy benefit to our diet, so don’t give them up altogether – just be careful to cook them in a healthy way!

3. Although fresh or frozen fruit and vegetables are better, you can count canned fruit and vegetables or fruit and vegetables in a ready meal. BUT … beware of those with added sugar or salt!!! Similarly, beware of added sugar and of the percentage of actual fruit in drinks that claim to be fruit drinks!

4. Smoothies can count as a maximum of 2 of the 5, but only if the amount of fruit is correct! So, for each portion, you need 80g/approx 3 oz!

5. Tossing the correct portion of vegetables into a favourite recipe does count! For example, we’ve started tossing left-over vegetables into curries, stews and pasta sauces. This week, we had some left-over lentils – they went into our spaghetti sauce (just to use them up *g*). They made no difference to the taste, but made a difference to our 5 a day count!

Do you try to follow 5 a day? What are some useful tips for getting 5 a day, every day? Are there any issues you face with getting your 5 that we could discuss – and maybe help you find a solution?