Mum I’ve already eaten my vegetables…
Childhood memories will always show me hiding the all important vegetables behind the napkin neatly folded beside me or ‘accidently’ dropping them, I as were many others naive as a childhood and didn’t realise the full goodness of fruit and vegetable and getting my ‘five a day’, I was always told, mainly by my mum that I should. But never really did, so what is the full truth how good are they?
Fruits and vegetables are valuable for almost anybody. They are low in calories, but dense in nutrients and fiber. This makes them perfect for a satisfying and substantial nibble or meal. In addition to vitamins and minerals, plant foods are rich in phytochemicals, which are special nutrients that may have cancer-fighting properties. Research has exposed that people who eat more fruits and vegetables have a lower risk of diseases like strokes, cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, certain cancers and coronary heart diseases. Fruits and vegetables should be an essential part of a weight-control diet, a training diet and an everyday diet.
That’s all well and good but how much do I need? How much is enough?
Lots! Fruit and veg should make up about a third of the food you eat each day. And it’s also important to eat a variety. Five-a-day is a good, achievable target. If you count your portions each day it might help you to increase the amount you eat. One portion of 80g should equal 1 portion.
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This target of 5 a day is so much easier than it sounds, you can sneak them in a variety of ways
Add a handful of your favorite freeze dried fruit to your cereal
Eat half a grapefruit
Remember an apple is more efficient in waking you up than a coffee
Fruit juice, apple and mango is my favorite in the morning.
Eat a bowl of salad
Have a banana sandwich
Have some fruit salad
And at teatime:
Add pulses and vegetables to your curry, casseroles, stir-fry’s or even bolognaise
And serve at least 2 types of vegetables with your meat chicken or fish
Getting the most out of your vegetables is also vital!
Some vitamins and minerals can be lost when fruit & vegetables are prepared and cooked so try and remember some very easy steps that will allow you to get all those lovely vitamins!
• eat fresh fruit and veg as soon as possible rather than storing for a long time – or use frozen instead
• Don’t overcook. Start with boiling water and cover tightly to keep in the steam, because this speeds up the cooking. You could use a steamer or a microwave
• Use as little water as possible when you cook fruit and veg. If you use the cooking water for sauce or soup, you’ll recapture some of the lost vitamins and minerals
• Avoid leaving any vegetables open to the air, light or heat if they have been cut. Always cover and chill them. But don’t soak, because vitamins and minerals can dissolve away
• Don’t keep food hot for too long because vitamin levels start to drop within a few minutes