Sunday, 21 March 2010
Some foods are just plain good for us – that’s why it makes sense to include as many of them as we can into our daily diets to protect us from illness and keep us feeling good. Here’s a guide to the ones we know your body will love.
Eating five portions of fruit and vegetables every day is the simplest way for your body to get the vitamins, minerals and other nutrients it needs. It isn’t as hard as it sounds and you don’t necessarily need to miss out on your favourite foods, just include two portions with each of your meals - easy!
Easy ways to your five-a- day
1. Add fruit and veg to your favourite recipes - such as peppers and sweetcorn to pasta sauces and pizza toppings, peas and beans to soups, root veg to mashed potato.
2. When you get the urge to snack, pick up a pear or grab a grapefruit. Fresh and dried fruit is less fattening than most processed snacks, and a healthy alternative in-between meals.
3. Have a fruity pudding or add fruit to your breakfast. Why stop at strawberry yogurts? Ttry adding banana or fresh blueberries to your cereal or raisins to your porridge.
4. Use frozen veg if it's easier. It counts.
5. Add beans and pulses to salads. Canned butter or kidney beans are quick to prepare - just make sure they're low in salt.
6. Make a smoothie for breakfast by blending your favourite fruits together. It’s a quick, easy and healthy way to kick-start your day.
What counts as one of my five-a-day?
All fruit and vegetables count: fresh, frozen, canned or dried; with the following exceptions:
* Pure fruit juices and fruit smoothies only count as one portion per day, no matter how much you drink
* Beans and pulses can only count as one portion per day
* Potatoes don't count at all
What's a five-a-day portion?
As a general rule, a portion is 80g of fruit and veg, which is roughly a handful. The following all count as 1 portion:
* 1 apple, banana, pear, orange
* 2 plums, satsumas, kiwi fruit
* half a grapefruit or avocado
* 1 large slice of melon or pineapple
* 3 heaped tablespoons of veg, beans and pulses, or fruit salad
* 1 heaped tablespoon of raisins or sultanas
* 3 dried apricots
* 1 cupful of grapes, cherries or berries
* 1 dessert bowlful of salad
* 1 small glass (150ml) of pure fruit juice
Get the best from fruit and veg
Preparing fruit and veg can destroy some of the vitamins and minerals. Here's how to keep hold of their goodness:
• Eat fresh fruit and veg as soon as possible
• Keep the crunch and don’t overcook– it’s healthier
• Cook in as little water as possible or steam
• Prepare and cut your veg when you’re ready to serve or cook them, that way they’re not left open to air, light or heat for too long.