Written by: Fiona Denton
Which foods are included?
5-A-Day means the recommended daily intake of certain fruit and veg you should be eating a day. Almost all fruit and vegetables count towards your 5-A-Day, beans and lentils are included too. The only vegetable that isn’t included is potatoes. It’s important to remember that potatoes are starchy foods and because of this they generally replace other sources of starch, such as bread. This means they do not count as part of your 5-A-Day, they are a great source of potassium, vitamins and energy though. Just because potatoes don’t count as your recommended intake, they play a vital role in you diet as long as they are not cooked with salt or fat.
What about drinks?
It’s not only food that counts, fruit and veg drinks count too. That fruity smoothie is good for you and counts as two portions of your 5-A-Day, as long as it includes the fruit and vegetable that matter. 150ml of juice counts as one portion, no matter how many glasses you drink. We all know that fruit juice can contain quite a bit of sugar, so try to limit the amount you drink to prevent your teeth being affected.
It’s easy to get your 5-A-Day here are a few ideas:
Add dried fruit or fresh fruit to cereals, porridge or low fat yogurt. Remember though, dried fruit tends to be higher in sugar. Just 1 glass (150ml) of unsweetened veg or fruit drink or smoothie counts up to two portions.
Sandwiches with crunch are better for your intake, add carrot, cucumber or tomatoes. The kids lunch box can be altered too, add a pieces of fruit and veg. Disguise the fact they are healthy by creating some masterpiece in their lunch box, such as a face.
By adding canned, fresh or frozen fruit and veg to your meals make them healthy and quick. Add some peppers or carrots to pasta sauces, peas in your mash, pineapple, sweetcorn and more on a pizza and so on. The possibilities are endless.
Snacking can be a nightmare but replacing the bad foods needn’t be a mammoth task. If you love dunking you could use carrot sticks, peppers etc, dipped into low fat dips such as low fat cheese and salsa.
Always keep fresh fruit in your fridge, that way when you feel like a snack you will see healthy foods instead of fatty foods.
5-A-Day and children
Kids can be little monsters when it comes to eating healthily, so try making foods fun. Get them involved when cooking, let them create their own pizza toppings. If this doesn’t work you could always try to hide it, add veg to pasta sauces and make alien faces in mashed potato with various veg.