Help and advice

How to eat more vegetables

Am I eating enough fruit and veg?
That's one of the top worries many of us have and reaching that elusive five-a-day is a challenge most of us fail at more often than not.

So the news that five portions of fruit and vegetables a day might not even be enough is likely to have been met with a giant collective sigh by members of the public.

Earlier in the year, a study carried out by experts at University College London found seven or even ten portions of fruit and vegetables could be a better target than the current government recommendation of at least four.

But if you're not a big fan of fruit and veg, how can you sneak more into your diet?

Juices and smoothies

There's an awful lot of contrasting evidence out there about whether or not fruit juices and smoothies are good for you or not. While they are undoubtedly packed with healthy ingredients, they also tend to be sugary so may cause more harm than good in some ways.

The best way to consume any juice or smoothie is to make it yourself at home, then you know exactly what it is going into it. This can be a difficult custom to get into, but a juicer is a relatively inexpensive piece of kitchen equipment and you soon get into the habit of using it.

Build time into your regular routine for making up a daily juice or smoothie - you can even knock it up the night before and take it with you to the office. This is a great way to get a headstart as your homemade juices and smoothies will typically have at least two portions in each serving.

Snack cleverly

Most of us feel pressure points throughout the day when only a biscuit or a chocolate bar will hit the spot and give us the boost we need.

But with some careful training you can quickly get out of this unhealthy trait and improve your diet considerably. Take grapes with you into the office and use them for grazing, or even have a range of berries with you that you can reach for if you are ever feeling particularly peckish.

Of course, standard fruits like bananas, apples and oranges are also great for a mid-morning or late-afternoon snack and a couple of these will soon get you above five portions a day and reaching for your new target of seven or even ten.

Reduce meat portions

Loads of us still feel as if a meal is not really a meal unless it has meat in some form, but the truth is we all eat far too much meat.

Reduce the portion size of the meat you add to your main daily meal and replace it with another side of vegetables.

Seasonal veggies are a great way to mix things up and make sure you don't get bored of eating the same things multiple times a week.

A great way to cheat is to buy ready-made frozen vegetable portions that can quickly be added to just about any meal to make it more nutritious - but remember, fresh vegetables are almost always better for you than tinned or frozen food.

Meat-free days

A final good tip is to try to avoid meat at least one day a week. You'll soon get into this habit and find you really don't need to eat as much meat as you do.

Consider using the weekend to whip up a batch of vegetable soup or stew that you can then freeze and zap in the microwave any time you need something quick and simple.

By following these tips increasing the amount of fruit and veg you eat should be a doddle.


© Axonn 2015