Have you heard? The suggested ‘five-a-day’ fruit and veg allowance was recently increased to 10. Studies conducted by the Imperial College London concluded that while five daily portions is good, 10 is definitely better. Why? Doubling the recommended intake could very well reduce the chance of heart attacks, strokes, cancer and even premature death.
If you think this is an insurmountable task, think again – with a little forward planning and some smart shopping, you’ll be reaching your nutrition goals in no time.
First off, what does 10-a-day look like?
Ten portions is roughly equal to around 800g – so 80g of fruit and veg per portion. Ideally, these would include a few of the following:
*Note that your fruit to veg ratio should stay around 3:7 because of fruit’s high sugar content and its link to tooth decay.
How can I incorporate this amount of fruit and veg into my diet?
Your answer lies in the smoothie. Whether you go for a strawberry and almond bircher breakfast smoothie, a trendy green smoothie bowl or a bright blueberry breakfast smoothie, you’ll already have ticked off two portions (smoothies can only ever count as two, no matter how much you drink) before you’re even out the door.
It’s important to not overdo it on the fruit, which is why we recommend following your morning meal with a veg-heavy lunch such as pearl barley, spiced carrot and beetroot salad, an Italian-inspired grain bowl (just like nonna made it), spiced spinach falafel and avocado hummus wraps or a filling roasted vegetable couscous salad.
Nothing packs veggies in like curries (we’ve got a chick pea and mixed vegetable coconut curry to prove it), stews (our beef and pearl barley stew, loaded with butternut, carrot, parsnip and more deserves a solid shout-out), soups (lentils, celery, carrot, onion and parsnip tick all the right boxes in this warming recipe) and salads (a roasted vegetable pasta salad will do the trick quite nicely).
If you do need a tasty midday nibble, go for a mozzarella and chive dip served with crudités and baby vegetables (carrots, Tenderstem broccoli, beetroot, courgettes) or make a batch of minted pea hummus and crispy zaatar chick peas – both are bound to keep hunger at bay.
Interested in hearing first-hand how doable hitting your 10-a-day is? Spinneys Magazine’s senior sub-editor Joe Russell gave it a go – find out how he got on here.