We’re all familiar with the five-a-day rule, but what if we told you it should be seven? Recent research by University College London suggests that we should eat seven portions of fruit and vegetables every day to help us live longer and reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease. Luckily, it’s not half as tricky as it sounds. Here are our tips for getting this quota of goodness into your daily meals.
There’s no worse kitchen sin than buying too much fresh produce and having to throw it out once it’s gone off. Frozen fruit and veg have all the same nutrients as fresh and come in very handy for lots of dishes. Go for frozen berry mixes for desserts and salads and pre-chopped veg like broccoli, mushrooms and peppers that you can throw straight into the pan.
Smoothies are a great way to consume large quantities of fruit and veg and can also disguise the taste of those ones you’re not so keen on. We love a green power juice with spinach, kale and pineapple, or a red smoothie with three types of red berries plus a banana.
You can satisfy your sweet tooth with a fruity fix. Try a vitamin C-rich, stewed rhubarb compote with plain yoghurt for breakfast, or a hearty cinnamon apple crumble for pudding in colder months. And the best bit is fruit is so sweet you can go easy on the sugar.
Fruit and veg make for convenient, energy-boosting snacks. Make your own hummus by blending chickpeas with a clove of garlic and a sprinkle of paprika. Use it as a dip for carrot and celery sticks, or spread it on plain rice cakes and top with oven-roasted peppers, onions and tomatoes.
Soups can contain all of your seven a day in one hearty bowl. Prepare a big batch in advance and freeze it to feed you through the month. We recommend spicy Mediterranean soup with tomato, courgette and aubergine, or vibrant broccoli and leek soup with a hint of blue cheese.
Protein is essential for building muscle and keeping hair, nails and skin healthy. If you’re eating a plant-based diet, supplements are a fuss-free way to up your protein intake. Mix up our Boost Me supplement as a shake or add it to your favourite smoothie for a daily protein and antioxidant hit.
With these tips in mind, here’s some inspiration to get you started:
For more healthy eating, lifestyle and fitness advice, visit the GP Nutrition blog