The list of benefits for eating fruit and vegetables is ever-growing.
Not only are they loaded with nutrients, antioxidants and more – but they also make us feel more energised and help our skin thrive, too.
However, a new study has revealed that only a quarter of adults eat their recommended five-a-day.
In fact, according to a recent Asda survey, 73% of Brits aren’t eating five daily portions of fruit and vegetables.
When questioned about their eating habits, 48% admitted to throwing vegetables away as they didn’t know what to do with them, while 62% said they would eat more veg if they knew how to make it interesting.
With this in mind, the arrival of the new year – not to mention Veganuary – seems like the perfect time to kick-start new healthy eating habits and incorporate more fruit and veg into our routines.
So, how can we go about doing this?
Nutritionists have shared some simple ways to squeeze more in every day.
Have a side of greens with every meal
Whether it’s a side salad or a plate of roasted veggies, having a vegetable dish accompany your meal will increase the likelihood of you eating it.
Nutritionist VJ Hamilton says: ‘Have a side of vegetables with every meal – either a side salad like a rocket with balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil, or you can lightly fry greens like bok choy with garlic and other herbs and spices.’
Make a batch of veggie-based sauce
VJ also suggests making a greens-packed sauce, such as pesto, and using it throughout the week as a topping for fish and meat.
He explains: ‘My go-to is a combination of rocket, basil, pine nuts, walnuts, garlic and (sometimes) parmesan. Use a small vegetable chopper to mix the ingredients.
‘If you make a batch, you can use it to flavour food for the rest of the week.’
Swap some carbs with veggies
‘Using a lettuce leaf as a wrap is also a delicious way to replace a beige food with a green one,’ adds VJ.
‘I love Keto-inspired wraps, with egg, avocado, and fresh veggies. You can use any filling you like but these are tasty for breakfast. You can even top with your green-infused sauce for extra green punch.’
Put them into dips
Incorporating veggies in dips is a simple way to make them more interesting.
Plus, if you dip with crudités you’re crossing more off your daily checklist.
‘Try snacking with roasted root vegetables, with a guacamole or aubergine dip,’ suggests VJ.
Don’t underestimate a smoothie
Start your day with a smoothie and you’ll be well on your way to getting your five-a-day by lunchtime.
‘Incorporate fruits and vegetables in a smoothie – such as berries, banana, spinach and avocado with acai berries powder – for extra nutrient density,’ says VJ.
Nutritionist Yalda Alaoui says: ‘It can be hard to maintain your five-a-day – especially after the rich food that often comes with the holiday season.
‘Something I love to do is to use fruit in my baking – making banana muffins, apple and blueberries muffins or delicious mandarin and almond cake.’
Don’t be afraid to get experimental with veg
Yalda also stresses that vegetables tend to be more forgiving when it comes to cooking, so she suggests experimenting with how you prepare them.
She adds: ‘Ultimately eating your five a day shouldn’t be seen as a punishment or an oppressive health regime, food should be enjoyable so it is important to figure out what makes it taste best for you.
‘Incorporating fruit and veg into your diet is so much easier when you look forward to eating it.’
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