LIFESTYLE

Seven-A-Day: How To Get Those Extra Fruit And Vegetable Portions Into Your Diet

03/04/2014 16:01 | Updated 03 April 2014

Just when most of us had finally figured out how to get 'five a day' into our diets, we're now being told to ramp our daily fruit and veg intake up to seven portions.

The increase, based on information provided by the Word Health Organisation, can lower the risk of serious health problems such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and obesity, according to the NHS.

"We have known for a long time that eating more fruit and vegetables is likely to be good for us," writes Michael Moseley for the BBC. "The famous five-a-day campaign was always intended as a recommendation aimed at promoting the minimum we should eat, rather than a maximum."

fruit and vegetable

But while the thought of cramming two extra portions of fruit and veg may be daunting, there is no need to fear - all you need to do is make a few dietary adjustments.

Nature’s Best nutritionist Dr Sam Christie has rustled up five top tips to help pack in those extra portions.

Don’t just score ‘high’ at tea time

By aiming to be a little more conscious about fruit and vegetables at each meal, rather than trying to score 'high' just at tea time, you'll find you steam-roller through your daily target. For example, adding dried fruit to your breakfast cereal (e.g.1 chopped fig and an egg-cup's worth of raisins) and eating a good-sized banana on your commute or school run gives you 2 portions-worth.

Try something new
With a portion of whole fruit (have prepared coconut chunks for a change or a crunchy apple) and a bean and fish salad for lunch, you've notched up a further 3 portions at lunch time.

Get inspired with the Mediterranean

A generous dollop (c. 2 tablespoons per adult) of chickpea or broad bean-rich hummus enlivens most baked vegetable dishes and can mean that you score 2-3 portions in just one dish. Sweet potato chips baked in cumin seeds and olive oil are winners as far as the children's votes are concerned.

You can still have your favourite takeaways

When you fancy a vegetable curry and you'll find that cooking with, cauliflower and phyto-rich herbs (e.g. turmeric, cumin and coriander and chilli) served alongside a quick red lentil dahl with ginger and garlic takes you into a high scoring zone of 3 portions for supper.

It’s not an issue if you miss out on your 7 a day

Let’s face it, with busy lives, most of us wouldn’t commit to a diet and those who do are more likely to forget. If you do miss out, don't forget to offset shortfalls in micro- and phytonutrients with a properly thought through, plant-enriched, daily multi-nutrient like MultiMax Advance (www.naturebest.co.uk; £7.95 for 30 tablets; 1 tablet daily).

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