It can be seen as difficult to eat five portions of fruit and veg each day even when you like vegetables. Now a new study has found to eat 10 portions of fruit and vegetables a day is what we require to stay healthy for longer. Most people don’t come nearly close to having enough, and I bet you’re wondering how on earth you’re going to manage that.
Read below for the top tips of getting more veg into your diet.
First of all, we must know what constitutes a portion?
A portion means 80g (3oz) of fruit or veg – the equivalent of a small banana, a pear or four heaped tablespoons of spinach or peas.
Many fruit and vegetables have different activated properties that can reduce health conditions.
For example, some vegetables that are linked to a low cancer risk:
- Green veg (e.g. spinach, kale, broccoli)
- Yellow/orange veg (e.g. peppers, butternut squash)
- Cruciferous vegetables (e.g. cauliflower, broccoli)
- Veg linked to lower risk of heart disease and stroke
- Citrus fruits
- Green leafy vegetables (e.g. Romaine lettuce, spinach, kale, rocket)
- Cruciferous veg (e.g. cauliflower, broccoli)
Although they have shown to have a link between a low risk we cannot say for sure whether they will have full effect as everyone is totally unique. However, eating more of these tasty vegetables will keep you healthy and why not try it out.
Why do these vegetables have cancer lowering attributes?
Take your cruciferous vegetables for instance. They are a rich source of isothiocyanates and have reported a lower risk in lung cancer. Although evidence is still sparse and knowledge on the mechanisms underlying their anticancer properties are not clear, they may enhance the excretion of carcinogens (cancer causing agents) before they damage your DNA (Mori,N. et al., 2017).
So, this is only one point on one type of vegetable family, there is so many vegetables out there with so many incredible benefits to your health whether its eye sight, skin, gut health or mucous control.
So, let us get these cruciferous and green leafy vegetables into your diet quickly and easily!
1. Make a frittata
- Whisk up some eggs, fry an onion, mushrooms and peppers and any green leafy vegetable you have in the fridge. Simple easy breakfast or lunch.
2. Cauliflower rice or broccoli rice
- Cauli rice has a bit of a cult thing of late. You can buy it ready-made in practically any supermarket, but it is also very easy to whizz up yourself in a food processor. Simply chop into florets and pulse until the cauliflower is a fine, rice-like consistency. Perfect whenever you might have rice or as a veggie side dish. There are many different ways to cook it. Click this link for a low-down on how to cook yours.
- You can prepare broccoli rice in the exact same way – pulse into rice-sized pieces. You can cook it in a similar fashion, too, but it is good lightly fried with a little coconut oil.
3. Add to your porridge
- You might be used to a sweet porridge but a savoury version can be surprisingly good. Try cooking plain oats with water then adding sautéed veg or else grated courgette. Top with a poached egg for a protein hit and maybe a grating of parmesan, then season to taste.
4. Sneak into family favourites
- Pasta bakes are the perfect place to hide your vegetables. The ideal partners to throw into the mix are spinach, onions, tomatoes, peas and broccoli but almost anything will do.
5. Have a breakfast smoothie
- There are so, so many different ways to get fruit and vegetables into a delicious smoothie. Here are a couple great ideas:
Green smoothie (serves 2)
- 450g spinach (or 1 and 1 of spinach and kale)
- 475ml almond milk
- thumb-sized piece of ginger
- 2 pears (cored)
- 1 banana
- 1tsp cardamom
- 1tsp cinnamon
- 450g spinach
- 270ml water
- 1 banana
- 100g blueberries
- 225g cherries (buy frozen – cheaper and they come pitted)
6. Don’t forget your herbs
- These count as vegetables, too, and are easily incorporated into practically any dish, from soups and stews to scrambled eggs.
7. Experiment with courgetti and boodles
- You can get courgetti and boodles (butternut squash noodles) from most supermarkets or make your own with a spiralizer. Blanch for a minute or two then serve with Bolognese or Thai curries – or your own choice of meal.
8. Upgrade your potato options
- Sweet potatoes have a far greater nutritional value than standard white potatoes. If switching to sweet potato mash is initially too much of a stretch, consider mixing the two to start.
9. Swap wraps for lettuce
- Lettuce makes a surprisingly good stand-in for tortilla wraps when you’re serving up fajitas. As you get more adventurous, you can also use tougher greens like kale or chard, but you’ll want to blanch and pat dry before you wrap.
10. Add to your stews!
- Casseroles, Bolognese sauce or chilli is the ideal place to smuggle in added veg. Vegetable dodgers will barely notice if you grate carrot or courgette, or finely mince mushrooms (which have a surprisingly meaty texture). The texture is barely changed.
11. Make your own tomato sauce
- Making your own tomato sauce is far healthier than shop-bough varieties. Grate in carrot and finely chop peppers then add to passata or tinned tomatoes with fresh herbs like basil or oregano and whiz when done. Roasted butternut squash will also do the trick. No one will ever know the difference.
12. Try avocado and baked egg
- Heat the oven to 220˚C. Halve an avocado and remove the stone to create a pit for the egg. Put the avocado in a small ceramic baking dish or baking tray. Crack the egg into the hole, sprinkle with paprika then bake for 15-20 minutes. Season and serve.
13. Dish up veggie fries
- Sometimes you need something resembling a chip. Check out this link for some amazingly easy and delicious ways to serve veggies you will never have thought of before.
14. Try kale crisps
- Preheat the oven to 150˚C. Blend 75g cashew nuts, 1 shallot (chopped), 2tbsp nutritional yeast flakes, ½ tsp garlic salt, 4 soft large dates (chopped), 2tbsp lemon juice, 2tbsp water, 2tbsp apple cider vinegar together until you create a thick paste.
- Add a little more water if you need to. Put a 250g bag of kale in a bowl, add the sauce and massage together with your hands. Place on a lined baking tray and bake for 15-20 minutes. Turn the kale over and bake for a further 5 minutes. Cool. The crisps will keep for 3 days in an airtight container.
15. Don’t forget the snacks
- Good old veg make for brilliant snacks. Come on in. Baby carrots, radishes and sugar snap peas don’t even need any chopping. With humous.
16. Bring in berries
- Berries of any kind are choc-full of inflammation-fighting antioxidants. Add them to granola, muesli or porridge along with a sprinkle of flax for a nutrition boost.
17. Take it out and about with you snacks
- Apples, pears and satsumas are perfect travelling companions, and teamed with a small handful of nuts, make the perfect blood sugar-balancing snack.
18. Combine fruit and veg in a juice
- A green juice is the perfect way to start the day as you mean to go on. This recipe will get you off the blocks with a good few servings of your 10 a day.
References and Further Reading