7 fruits and veg a day.. But how!

Eating more fruits and veg. It’s a funny concept that most of us have perhaps become a little too familiar with. An instruction that started with mother and ever since just seems to have got louder and louder.

And yet for some reason we ignore it. It’s funny because unlike the world of fats and sugars, which seems to be an increasingly grey area, the fruit and vegetable picture is uncharacteristically black and white.

In fact recently the case has got even stronger in the wake of new evidence from UCL that the more fruits and vegetables you eat, the less likely you are to die, at any age.

This particular study further rocked the healthy eating boat by showing that eating 7 portions of F+V reduced the risk of cancer by 25% (that's a quarter!) and the risk of heart disease by 31% (a third!). Sticking with the numbers for a minute longer – eating 1-3 portions of fruit or veg a day reduced your overall risk of dying by 14% but eating more than 7 portions, reduces the risk by 42%.

That's 560g though - over a half a kilo of fruity veggie goodness each and every day.

Great to have some more concrete evidence about what we should be doing and music to the ears of plant-based diet enthusiasts. However, those seemingly safe in the knowledge that they were meeting their 5-a-day target were left feeling a little disheartened. And those shying away from the fact that they might not be, inclined to give up.

So it seems absolutely right that the government has stuck by 5-a-day, as arguably the strongest and farthest reaching message of its kind. And it needs to be,  F+V in their broadest sense provide us with most things good and holy within the food world. In fact, provided you don’t drink a gallon that you've pulped to bits, it seems they can do little or no harm. So here are seven sneaky suggestions to help you out.

1. Bump up with beans. But remember to also include other veggies too as one 80g portion of pulses only counts once.

2. Dish out the dried fruit. A 30g portion roughly counts as one.

3. Turn up the base veg. You can easily squeeze ot three or four potions out of most one-pot-cooking dishes.
4. Overlook neither the onion nor the tomato. Separately or together, the perfect base for sauces that all count towards the subtotal.

5. Freshen up puddings. Treat your treats to a little something – yoghurt and mango, chocolate mousse and cherries, cheese and grapes. Hours of fun.

6. Swop the pots. Celeriac, sweet potato, butternut squash, swede, pumpkin?

7. Fruit = snacks, fruit = snacks. Repeat, repeat, repeat.

*** 80g of fresh fruit or vegetable counts as one portion


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