Fruit and vegetables are good sources of many vitamins, minerals and fibre. Although we should be aiming to eat at least five a day, most of us do not manage to achieve this. There is a wealth of research to suggest that people who eat lots of fruit and vegetables are less likely to develop chronic diseases such as coronary heart disease and some cancers.
- Aim to fill a third to a half of your plate with vegetables or salad. Choose fat free dressings like lime or lemon juice. If you're cooking a vegetable curry, how about keeping the vegetables crunchy rather than overcooking them?
- Get into the habit of serving lots of natural colours on your plate – the more varied the colours, the more varied the nutrients.
- Plan your five a day. This could mean a glass of unsweetened fruit juice at breakfast with a sliced banana in your cereal, a piece of fruit as a mid-morning snack, and a serving of vegetables or salad at each main meal. Done! Dhal counts once as one of your five a day. Serve dhal often as it's also rich in protein and fibre.
- When cooking, ask yourself which vegetables you can add. You may choose to mix some sweetcorn into a chicken dish or add chopped peppers to a rice dish. If you have any fruits that are a little too soft to enjoy, blitz them up in a blender with some yoghurt and skimmed milk to make a delicious and satisfying fruit smoothie.
- Get children into the habit of eating fruit and veg. Younger children may have fun with broccoli “trees” and it's a good idea to get them to help you out in the kitchen, even if it's making a barrier of cucumber around the salad bowl.
See Azmina Govindji discuss this further in the video How much is five a day? on the UK National Health Service's website.