It's really busy when you have to work and take care of the school run at the same time. You get in work and then grab your seat and barely move till lunch time, typing away. By noon the cravings are hitting you badly and all you want is to find some junk food. Keeping up with 5-a-day recommendations was already hard, but now things have changed and scientists are telling us to get more fruits and vegetables in our diet? Go for 10-a-day?! What is it all about?
Scientists have been telling us that we need to up our fruit and veggies portions to 10 a day. Doing so can help reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer. Fruits and vegetables reduce cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and boost the health of blood vessels and immune system. Some fruits are full of antioxidants which help reduce DNA damage. Broccoli activates enzymes that may help prevent cancer.
Obviously, eating more of them gives you more fiber, which means you fill up quicker and hence you eat less of the other 'bad stuff' - like red meat or carbs (on in my case, red meat AND carbs). And fruit also have vitamins and anti-oxidants that are said to help prevent cancer altogether.
You might think that this was 'just another study' but, actually, it is THE MOTHER of all studies: it included up to 2 million people, and assessed up to 43,000 cases of heart disease, 47,000 cases of stroke, 81,000 cases of cardiovascular disease, 112,000 cancer cases and 94,000 deaths.
Here are the benefits (this risk was calculated in comparison to not eating any fruit and vegetables):
a 24 per cent reduced risk of heart disease
a 33 per cent reduced risk of stroke
a 28 per cent reduced risk of cardiovascular disease
a 13 per cent reduced risk of total cancer
and a 31 per cent reduction in dying prematurely
What's a portion size?
According to the study, a portion is considered to be 80g of fruit. So, would you be able to cope with eating 800g of fruit and vegetables a day? Maybe. But one important think to remember is that you should go for organic! Because increasing your intake of fruits and veggies that are douched in chemicals can end up being really bad for you.
Now that's a rather long prologue to get to the main point: How to cheat your way to a a healthier. leaner your and reaching your daily intake target, without feeling that you're continuously stuffing fiber down your mouth (and let's admit it, some people still don't like their greens!).
So the main point in my strategy is to find those fruits that give you more for less. The best way to have your intake is with smoothies, so if you don't already have one, go and get a Nutribullet - my favourite juicer/blender that requires minimal cleaning and is very compact too.
Breakfast - Porridge
Your normal porridge plus half a banana and 4 tbsp of blueberries. No need for sweeteners! (1.5 portion). Use the other half banana in the smoothie which you make at home before you go and take with you.
Elevenses - Avocado smoothie
4 ice cubes
250ml coconut water (that's your main 'base' for all smoothies
pinch of cinnamon
1 tbsp of honey
Throw all the above in the mixer and that's your two and a half portions (total so far 4/10)
Photo credit: Popsugar
this is where you can eat your carbs/ protein. A great recipe to follow for this is here. That's the one I used as well!
Sesame chicken and thai sticky rice
Use 1 big slice of pineapple (5-6 pieces) and you get your 1 portion. Total so far: 5 portions
2 slices of mango (1 portion) and a handful of nuts (1 portion)
Delicious baby spinach, goats cheese and apple salad
You want something that is light but yet filling for dinner. My suggestion is a baby spinach, goats cheese and apple salad. There are other key ingredients in there like...
1 portion of spinach
1 apple, cut in thin pieces - red or green
1/2 onion - red or brown
1 handful of walnut halves
2 tbsp of pomegranate seeds
2 tbsp of goats cheese
honey vinaigrette to drizzle over
Let's call this a super salad, because it's a full 3.5 portions! In total you have exceeded the 10 a day portions. Thank me later!
Your easy guide to 'how much of each' - photo: SeasonsinColour.com
There are so many ways to up your daily intake of fruit and veggies. Here's another Infographic I prepared and yes, I did add crisps in there because they count too (careful: potatoes are excluded, whether fried or boiled and potato crisps don't count either!).
For more easy to follow recipes and tons of inspiration for breakfast, lunch or dinner, follow my Pinterest Board: Cheat Your Way to 10 a day (click on the photo below to go there).
Other favourite recipes from my Pinterest board. Click on the photos to go straight to the recipe!
Photo Credit and recipe: Life is Beautiful
Photo Credit and recipe: Little Broken
Photo Credit and recipe: Alpro Soya