News just in: apparently eating 10 portions of fruit and veg a day can cut your risk of heart disease, a stroke, cancer and a premature death (according to the findings of an Imperial College London study, February 2017). Whether it’s true or not, it’s doubtless a good idea to get as many delicious fruits and vegetables into your diet as possible. And it really isn’t that difficult. Did you know that three sticks of celery is a portion in itself? As is half an avocado, one apple, half a grapefruit or just one third of an aubergine… just one third!
We’ve pulled together a delicious daily menu for you to try (starting with breakfast and ending with dessert after your evening meal) that makes up those necessary 10 portions of fruit and veg. We’ve used official NHS guidelines to work out the portion count for each recipe (you can find the NHS guidelines here), as well as advice from our expert nutritional therapist Kerry Torrens, and have included the portion count per person with each recipe. Have a go yourself, and see how you get on.
Go ahead with your normal breakfast, but have one of the below smoothies on the side. You can prepare them in advance and it’s such an easy way to get those delicious fruits and veggies into your system. Try not to have smoothies or fruit juices outside of meal times, to limit the number of sugar attacks on your teeth each day, and avoid brushing your teeth for at least 30 minutes after drinking or eating something acidic. Lesson over!
Perhaps our simplest smoothie recipe, made using just mango, bananas, orange juice and a little honey (which you can always leave out if you haven’t much of a sweet tooth). Remember, according to the NHS, unsweetened 100% fruit juice, veg juice and smoothies can only ever count as a maximum of one portion.
Portion count per person: 1
Drink this healthy green smoothie in the morning for a quick, nutrient-packed pick-me-up. Cucumber, spinach, lime and kiwi are a great combination and the avocado adds a lovely texture.
Portion count per person: 1
Mid-morning is the perfect time to cram in some extra fruit and veg goodness. We usually prepare our snacks at home, then just pop them in a tupperware to enjoy at work the next day.
DIY apple crisps
We’ve written a whole guide on how to make these little beauties. All it takes is an apple and an oven. That’s it! And because they’re oven-baked, not fried, it makes the whole thing that much healthier. Sprinkle a little cinnamon on top before baking, if you like.
Portion count per person: 1 (for 30g eaten)
Again, give preparing your lunch in advance a go. It means that you can control your fruit and veg portion size and you won’t end up running to the canteen at work for an unhealthy option. Or make the greens and beans salad below as part of dinner, and use the leftovers for lunch the next day!
Avocado on toast with smoked salmon
Creamy avocado and delicious smoked salmon feel like an indulgence, but this dish comes in at under 300 calories meaning you can have a little bit of luxury any day of the week.
Portion count per person: 2 (1 from ½ avocado, 0.5 from the tomatoes, 0.5 from the cucumber)
Greens and beans salad
What a way to combine a glut of lovely Tenderstem broccoli, green beans, kidney beans, celery, watercress and goodness knows what else. Plus it comes with a delicious homemade dressing. Remember, according to the NHS, beans and pulses count as a maximum of one portion a day, however much you eat.
Portion count per person: just over 2 (1 from the kidney beans, 0.5 from the avocado, 0.5 from the celery)
When 3pm strikes, so does our hunger. But don’t reach for the crisps – try something far more colourful instead!
Picnic dip jars with pea guacamole
There are two easy dip suggestions for this recipe, but if you’ve only got the time for one make the pea guacamole. It’s a quicker way to your 10-a-day (three heaped tablespoons of peas, whether fresh or frozen, counts for one portion) and takes seconds to whizz together.
Portion count per person: 3 (1 from the peas, 2 from 160g of accompanying varied veg crudités)
Our final chance to hit that 10 portions of fruit and veg a day target. So far, with a morning smoothie, elevenses, lunch and afternoon snack, we’ve already racked up 7 portions – not long to go now!
Courgette lasagne with chilli spring greens
You only need to eat half a large courgette to get one portion, and they sweat down so easily. Although do remember that you can’t have more than one portion from the same vegetable (no matter how many courgettes you use, it will still just count as one portion). The idea is variety!
This super veggie recipe (which comes with its own how-to video) uses ricotta to get a really creamy texture. Pair it with our chilli spring greens to add (almost) another fruit and veg portion per person.
Portion count per person: nearly 3 (1 from the courgette, 1 from the tinned tomatoes, nearly one from the spring greens)
Aubergine parmigiana with chilli spring greens
A super simple recipe for aubergine parmigiana. This Italian classic of layers of tomato sauce (there’s one portion in every two cans of tomatoes), aubergine and parmesan is fun to make and loved by all the family.
Portion count per person: nearly 3 (1 from the aubergine, 1 from the tinned tomatoes, just under 1 from the side dish of spring greens)
Yes, you can get fruit and veg portions from dessert! And our way is far more exciting than an apple…
No-churn banana ice cream
You don’t need an ice cream maker, and you don’t even need more than three ingredients. It’s still ice cream, but one serving counts as two fruit and veg portions. Win win.
Portion count per person: 1 (from the banana)
Total portion intake, if using the above planner: just under 11. See, it’s easy!