Easy ways to get your 5 a day

According to the NHS guidelines, if you eat three tablespoons of beans, a heaped tablespoon of dried fruit, a bowl of canned fruit and a glass of unsweetened juice and an apple you will have had your five a day quota.

Of course, this guidance is a teeny tiny step in the right direction, but how about instead if we ate five portions of high-water content foods (perhaps an apple, stick of celery, a fresh juice, a carrot and a bowl of greens)?

Is that better?

Yes, I would say!

But… what if you ate the apple after a roast dinner, the carrot before bed and the freshly extracted juice after your bowl of porridge? Is that going to aid you in your quest to be healthy? No! The apple would most likely ferment in your gut… it is a quick-exit food, designed to pass through the system with ease. If it’s queuing behind a cooked bird, roasties, wheat and egg (Yorkshire puds) and over-cooked veggies, it may ‘count’ as one of your ‘five a day’ but you may find yourself experiencing all sorts of painful or embarrassing moments afterwards. So in my book, it doesn’t count at all. In fact, I reckon it becomes a minus!

I am not a doctor, or dietician but I try my best to be a fresh and live mama! And from my own research and from witnessing my own health improving over the past two decades because of making conscious food choices, I have discovered that it is not ONLY what you include in your diet, it is also WHEN you eat these foods and HOW you eat them.

Remember – when you read government guidance, it is there to help but it is helpful to consider, who wrote the guidance? Are they right? Will they be re-writing their guidance in the future? I believe they will!

Here is a typical day of how you can maximise your intake of fresh fruit and veggies. And for a most delicious salad with a big hit of awesome foods to make you feel great

Breakfast – Green Smoothie. Juice 1 carrot, 1 apple, 1/2 lemon, chunk ginger, inch cucumber, stick celery. Blend with, half an avocado, 5 strawberries, handful of leaves (rocket, watercress, spinach) Delicious and counts as four (if you are counting!)

Mid-morning snack – three or four large juicy dates – dried or fresh. Sliced mango and cucumber. Another 3!

Lunch – Kale and Corn Salad. This adds another four or five! Serve with a couple of steamed sweet potatoes if desired.

Dinner – Courgetti Pasta with Tomato Sauce. Using either a spiralizer or vegetable peeler, make noodles out of 1 courgette. Arrange on a plate. For the sauce, in your blender place four sun-dried tomatoes, 3 fresh tomatoes, cloves of garlic, 2 dates, inch cucumber, pinch of salt, tbs mesquite meal and a handful of creamy cashews. Blend and pour over your pasta. If you want a balance of raw and cooked, serve with a selection of steamed veggies, such as broccoli, corn on the cob or cauliflower. This meal alone could add up to 8 further portions making a grand total of a possible 20!

Now that is more like it!

So, you have had your 20 a day! And it gets to 7 o clock. For greater health, your choices still count, no matter how many fruit and veggies and good stuff you have had. If you splurge out now on sugary chocolate bars, fizzy drinks, crisps and pizzas, you cannot say that the rest of the good food you put into your body made too much of a difference. Give your body time to rest, time to heal, time to get back to her natural shape and size and weight….. take all guidance with a pinch of pink salt and ask yourself, five a day?

Victoria Leith

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