Eat your way to 5 A Day
Fruit and vegetables are an important part of a healthy diet. Children and adults are recommended to eat at least 5-a-day, every day.
Benefits of 5 A Day
The Eatwell Guide shows us that fruit and vegetables should make up just over one third of the food we eat each day. Fruit and vegetables help us to stay healthy, for example they:
- Lower our risk of heart disease, stroke and some cancers.
- Provide us with important vitamins and minerals to be healthy
- Contain fibre, which helps our digestion and gut health plus reduces risk of bowel cancer.
- Help us to be a healthy weight as they are low in fat and calories.
How Much Do You Need?
Aim to eat at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables every day. This is 5 different varieties not 5 of the same type. It can be a combination of fruit and vegetables; it isn’t 5 of one and 5 of the other.
5-A-Day Throughout the Day - What Counts?
- Fresh, frozen and tinned varieties all count. Watch Out! Choose tinned fruit in natural juice (not syrup) and tinned vegetables in water with no added sugar or salt.
- Dried fruit also counts but only as one portion a day. Remember to keep dried fruit to mealtimes only for children, not as a snack, to help protect their teeth.
- Did you know? Beans and pulses also count e.g. lentils, kidney beans, chickpeas, split peas. These count as a maximum of one portion a day.
Don’t be caught out! Potatoes, yam, plantain and cassava do not count towards your 5-a-day. Instead these are counted as a starchy carbohydrate - along with bread, rice, potatoes and pasta. They are still part of a healthy balanced diet.
Easy ways to 5 A Day
It can be easier than you think to eat 5-a-day. Check out some of our top tips.
- Set the family a challenge. If you don’t all eat 5 portions of fruit and vegetables every day already then see how quickly you can build up from the number you do currently eat.
- Get the children involved. They could keep a sticker chart of how many portions they have. Make snacks fun by letting them design something like a ‘fruit face’. Teach them about different varieties when you go shopping, can you interest them to try something new?
- Can you add at least one portion to each of your main meals? Breakfast could be a glass of fruit juice, berries on top of cereal or a banana on toast. At lunch try adding a side salad, have vegetable sticks with dip or a whole piece of fruit. With dinner serve a side of one or two different vegetables. If you’re having desert try plain natural yoghurt with sliced fruit.
- Fruit and vegetables make great snacks too.
- Try to ‘eat the rainbow’. This means eating a variety of different fruits and vegetables which are different colours, textures and flavours.
- Look for things in season. These often taste better and are better value. In season in July are; cherries, cucumber and lettuce. Also; blueberries, bramley apples, broad beans, cauliflower, carrots, celery, courgette, raspberries, runner beans, rhubarb. Not forgetting; strawberries, peas, savoy cabbage and spinach! So much choice.
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Change4Life has lots of ideas to help your family to eat at least 5-a-day