I’m sure we are not the first people to tell you how important fruit & vegetables are. However, hopefully we can help you understand why. First of all, fruit and vegetables contribute to the flavour in your meals. They also help to support the immune system and enhance recovery. All fruit & vegetables contain important vitamins & minerals for our body however variety is essential. For example, sweet potatoes and red peppers are good plant-based sources of beta-carotene (converted to vitamin A in the body!), while spinach and lentils are good plant-based sources of iron. Berries are packed with anti-oxidants which help to prevent damage to the cells in our body. Fruit & veg are packed with fiber so including a variety has also been recommended to maintain a healthy gut.
Tips on how to improve your intake
- Include fruit/vegetables in all your meals. e.g. banana/berries within porridge, tomatoes/spinach in a sandwich, salad or wrap & peppers/corn/green beans in a curry
- A smoothie is a great option, it’s an easy way to include 2-3 portions of fruit and veg in one meal!
- A wide array of vegetables can be packed into a nutritious home-made soup
- If you (or those you are cooking for!) struggle with textures or the way certain vegetables look try to disguise them! Add fruit or veg to a smoothie or blitz a curry/bolognese sauce to create a smooth consistency
- For main meals fruit/vegetables should account for half of the space on your plate
We are recommended to have 6+ portions of fruit & veg per day. If that target seems unattainable to you right now, start by trying to add a portion at each meal and go from there. There are so many fruit & vegetables out there so if you don’t like one, try another and remember variety is the spice of life!