Five a day
Are you getting enough vitamins and minerals?
To live a long and healthy life, it is essential to have a balanced diet that includes loads of fruit and vegetables. However, not everyone seems to be doing that - about 25% of young people in Britain eat mostly junk food. Around one in three young men and women are obese or overweight, while one in ten young people are actually obese, and heart disease is still the biggest killer in this country. This is why the Government have introduced the 5 A DAY scheme which recommends everyone should eat at least five portions of a variety of fruit and veg each day (although the more portions the better!).
What is a portion?
One portion is about 80 grams, which could be half a grapefruit, a slice of melon, a handful of grapes, an apple, two satsumas, three dried apricots or a tablespoon of raisins. One portion of veg could be three heaped tablespoons of peas, carrots or sweetcorn or a bowl of salad. A medium-sized glass of 100% fruit juice also counts.
- Fresh, frozen, tinned and dried fruit and vegetables.
- Pure fruit and vegetable juices.
- Veg in ready meals, takeaways, pasta sauces and soups.
- Fruit in puddings.
- Click here for a sample menu.
But watch out for added salt/ fat/ sugar in takeaways and ready meals - check out the labels. Look out for the 5 A DAY logo on packaging - it can only be used to promote fruit and vegetables without any added fat, sugars or salt.
- Potatoes, because they are considered a 'starchy' food like bread and pasta, but these are all important parts of a healthy diet.
- More than one glass of juice - even if you drink lots of it during the day, juice has hardly any fibre and has loads of sugar which is bad for your teeth.
- More than one portion of beans or pulses a day, because they don't give the same mixture of vitamins and minerals as fruit and veg.
- Vitamin pills and supplements, as they don't contain fibre.
- Munching your favourite fruit or vegetable five times a day. You need to eat a variety to get the maximum benefits from all the different nutrients.
Are there any shortcuts?
- Slice banana into your cereal.
- Snack on an apple, banana, handful of grapes or raisins rather than a packet of crisps.
- Have a glass of orange juice.
- Dip veg sticks (e.g. carrots, celery) into salsa sauce.
- Stuff salad bits such as cucumber, lettuce and tomato into your sarnies.
- Add extra vegetables to pizza, pasta sauces and soups.
- Stir fries, stews and casseroles are any easy way of combining up to nine vegetables in one go.
- Replace stodgy puddings with a hunk of melon or a fruit salad.
- Make a smoothie - blend low fat natural yoghurt with two handfuls of blackberries, blueberries or raspberries.
- Make fruit kebabs by threading bite-sized chunks of apples, pears, strawberries and pineapple onto wooden skewers - you could even grill or barbeque them.
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