May 10, 2018 7:02 am Leave your thoughts
It all changed early last year. A sudden flurry of media activity announced the findings of new research: five-a-day was good, but ten-a-day was much, much better. We’re talking fruit and vegetables, of course – the ideal amount we should all be eating each day. For years and years, people had happily chanted ‘five a day’, arguing over precise portion sizes and whether potatoes would ever count. In 2017, however, the Guardian suddenly moved the goalposts. It reported the results of a major review, concluding that those who ate ten portions of fruit and veg a day – rather than five – had a significantly lower risk of chronic health problems such as heart disease, cancer and stroke.
The ten portions amounted to 800g per day (good news for those who prefer heavier vegetables). They included all the old favourites, but excluded some of the more dubious contenders ( ‘onion rings’, for example, and ‘crisps’). We all know that fruit and vegetables are the healthiest things we can include in our diet, so the advice to eat more of them hardly came as a surprise. However, not everyone was happy. Many felt that the new target risked being perceived as completely unachievable. The previous ‘five a day’ had apparently been set to encourage those who ate virtually no fruit and veg to set a realistic objective for themselves. As Victoria Taylor of the British Heart Foundation pointed out: ‘There is no nutritional benefit in a guideline that is not followed.’
Nevertheless, following the issuing of the report, various families and experts had a go at sticking to the guidelines, blazing the trail for the rest of us. Over the course of the year, we learned all about portion sizes (3 tbsp of lentils, or 30g of dried fruit, counted as one portion, it seemed) and about the benefits to skin, sleep and energy levels that the new regime brought.
Ten a day – preaching to the converted?
But at Naturally Good Food, this was all preaching to the converted, really. We’re pretty sure that most of our customers were already eating a proper, balanced and healthy diet, full of fruit and vegetables. We know that our amazing wholefoods, bought by our amazing customers, are used to make the very best breakfasts, lunches and dinners in the country.
Even so, ten a day is still something of a tall order at times. And maybe you’re struggling a little to squeeze in, say, those last ninth and tenth portions every day. We thought, then, that it might be worth reissuing our top tips as to how to do so. There are five of them…
- Don’t forget breakfast. Make fruit part of that first meal of the day, whether in a smoothie, in porridge or muesli, served with yoghurt, or eaten just as it comes.
- Or make vegetables part of your breakfast! At the weekends, try spring onions in a quick omelette, or good old grilled tomatoes and mushrooms with a cooked breakfast.
- During the day, make fruit your ‘go to’ snack: if you don’t fancy munching your way through a whole apple at your desk, remember that dried fruit counts too.
- When baking or thinking about desserts, base them as far as possible around fruit. Make crumbles, Eve’s puddings, fruit pies and tarts, or add dried (or fresh) fruit to muffins, buns and cakes.
- For main meals, cram as much veg as you possibly can into every meal. Add chopped up onion, carrot and celery to stews and sauces, and throw in every vegetable you can find in the fridge or drawer to casseroles and bakes. Remember to use plenty of beans, chickpeas and lentils in your weekly meal plans – and serve main meals with side-salads, to score some extra portions.
This post was written by Yzanne