you are what you eat
5 a day campaigns have been initiated to help us reach our 5 servings of fruit and vegetables portions a day for better health. The World Health Organisation recommends eating a minimum of 400g of fruit and vegetables a day to lower the risk of serious health problems, such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and obesity. I know this must seem like a lot and you will never reach this target of 5 fruit and vegetable portions a day, but it is simpler than you think. Here are some tips:
– Plan: Plan a menu for the week and list fruits and vegetables you would like to include at each meal and snack. Then start a shopping list from your menu, so that when you shop, you have listed all you need for the week ahead. This will also help you ensure your trolley is filled with lots of items front the fruits and vegetables isle!
– Replace: Replace your cookie jar or muffin tin with a bowl of fruit at your desk or on your kitchen counter. Make it colourful but not restrictive. Have a variety of fruits from bananas, peaches, plums, apples and even a mango or two!
– Let fruits and veges give you that new twist to family favourites: Add vegetables to all your meals. Chopped vegetables can be added to pastas, curries, rice and even breakfast. Chop baby spinach or grated carrot to sandwich fillings, peppers and marrows work well in pasta dishes, blueberries or raspberries in your pancakes or flapjacks for breakfast (As i have done in the picture above), strawberries on your salad, cauliflower and cabbage to your curry. This list is endless. Do not restrict yourself and have a day in the week when you will use all the extra vegetables in your vege drawer in the fridge to make a whole and complete meal.
– Double up on fruit and veggie servings. Recommended servings of fruit and veggies can be small. Unlike other foods, it’s OK to double the serving size of fruit or vegetables. Serve yourself a 1-cup portion of steamed vegetables or salad instead of the standard serving of ½ cup.
– Try a new recipe each week: We all like variety so try a new recipe each week. Even if it is something you printed off the net or borrowed from a friend, variety makes our lives colourful and keeps things interesting, Sometimes trying a different method of cooking will makes vegetables more palatable, for example roasting marrows brings out their sweetness instead of steaming which can ruin the taste if overcooked!
400g of fruit and vegetables in the target for the day, so if we break this up it will be 80g per meal. Here are some portion sizes to help you along:
2 small kiwi fruit, or
3 apricots, or
7 small strawberries, or
2 small naartjies, or
1 medium sized apple, or
1 medium sized pear or nectarine
1/2 cup of fruit salad, or
1 heaped tablespoon of raisins, currants or sultanas, fruit flakes, or
1 tablespoon of mixed fruit, two figs, three prunes, or
4 apple rings (20g), or
3 heaped tablespoons of peas, beans or pulses
5 spears fresh asparagus, or
3- 4 heaped tablespoons button mushrooms, or
2 heaped tablespoons cooked spinach, or
1 fresh medium sized tomato
a dessert bowl of salad
I can already imagine a delicious meal using some of the above combinations! Leave a comment with your favourite meal using some of the above combinations!
The above flapjack picture is a ready made pancake batter from Woolworths. I have substituted the milk for fat free milk, added 3 tablespoon of oat bran and added 2- 3 raspberries per flapjack while i had them on the griddle. I did not brush my pan with oil but used spray and cook to avoid it from sticking. Breakfast is the ideal meal to set your tempo of healthy eating for the day ahead!