DietEating issuesFeedingNutrition

5 portions of fruit and veg a day. It's 5! A small number. My children could count to 5 fairly young. And yet, getting 5 portions of fruit and veg a day is hard. Well, it is until you rethink it.

5 a day is something most of us are aware of but achieving 5 a day is not something which fits naturally into life, or does it? Certainly surveys suggest we are eating less than 5 on average with very few of us achieving 5 a day. 5 a day is 5 different portions of fruit and veg a day (total not 5 of each). A portion is 80g.

I am going to show you a simple way to get 5 a day. No, it is not by eating a specific product that's squashed it all in there. No, it's not going to cost you a fortune to do it.

Think of it as 1, 2, 2. Yes. One, Two, Two.

One for breakfast
Two for lunch
Two for dinner

I'm not saying you can't have fruit as a snack but not everyone snacks. Not everyone needs to have a snack between meals. But 3 meals are recommended for everyone (some people need smaller more frequent meals).

So, one for breakfast.

I don't know about you but morning are busy. I haven't got time to take a pomegranate apart and clean me, the work surface and half the walls of the kitchen before the school run. So, mornings are about quick. A handful of grapes, a pear or 2 clementines are good quick options for breakfast. Frozen fruit is a great option too - try putting frozen berries into hot porridge - they will cool it down so it's ready to eat quicker. Dried fruit or fruit juice are also options but they won't fill you up as much so aren't as good as whole fruit.

2 for lunch

Lunch also needs to be quick in our house. It is sometimes out an about so it needs to be simple and transportable too. So, alongside your sandwich, why not have a handful of vegetable sticks. Examples are cucumber, carrot, peppers, raw mini corn - a different veg each day adds variety without making you chop up multiple things on one day. You can even prepare these when you are making your evening meal so they are ready for the next day - or ask your partner to so you have them ready whilst you are juggling children or work). Alongside your veg sticks, have a portion of fruit - a medium banana, an apple, a couple of plums are all easy options. If you are really time poor you can buy a pre prepared fruit salad but this is an expensive way to eat fruit and creates lots of packaging so isn't an ideal regular option.

If you want a hot option, why not make a soup and include 35g dried lentils (80g cooked) and at least 80g of a veg in your soup and you get your 2 portions in there. (Beans and lentils can only count as one of your 5 a day no matter how much you eat. They are great for other reasons but they can only count as one of the portions.)

2 for tea

Dinner or tea tends to be hot in a lot of households. The standard meat and 2 veg, as long as they are 80g portions of each veg, would get you your 2 portions. Alternatively when you are planning to have a sauce with the meal - for example a Bolognese or curry or chilli, include two 80g portions of veg per person. For example if I am cooking for 4 people and each person needs 160g veg (2 x 80g) then I need to have 640g veg in the sauce. In a Bolognese his might include onions, tinned tomatoes, carrots and mushrooms. To get enough veg we want to have at least 640g in the dish.

For example:

1 medium onion (150g)
1 carrot (100g)
1 tin tomatoes (400g)
200g mushrooms

Total 850g. This is well over what you would need to have 2 portions of veg in the sauce. It's not too much but hopefully this shows how you can include the veg. It's important to have variety so it would be easy to rely on tinned tomatoes but remember they can only count once. You need 5 different portions across your day.

If you can't put it all in the sauce, or you find that you haven't had the variety you want, you can always serve a portion of veg on the side. Peas, tinned sweetcorn or broccoli are nice easy options.

So, write it on your shopping list, your fridge, your meal planner, your phone 1, 2, 2.

Need some help working out how this might work for your family, if your child will not touch veg and that's stressing you out, why not book a call with me.

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