Convenience food is at an all time best isn’t it? Microwave burgers, rice and everything nice. Meals you pour hot water over and eat out of a pot. Ready made everything that you can eat out of the packet, or chuck in the oven for half an hour and it’s cooked. Then there’s the various street vendors and high street chains offering high quality tasty treats for super low prices and all ready almost instantly. Food is definitely, the most convenient it has ever been.
The problem with this is, we as a country are also more obese than we have ever been before. Studies show that in 2015 nearly 70% of men in the UK were obese, and nearly 60% of women were also found to be obese. Rising trends tracked from 2001 show that this percentage has been constantly rising over the years. This is not just because of convenience foods, lack of exercise, computer games, busy lifestyles or any one factor, it is because of a combination of things leading to any one person piling on the pounds unknowingly.
Eating more of your five a day is not going to counteract a lack of exercise, eating loads of junk food and generally being way more sedentary than is recommended. However, it is a really great start to a healthier lifestyle. The benefits of eating more fruit and vegetables include, but are certainly not limited to:-
- Fruit and vegetables ensure you get more essential vitamins and minerals
- They provide lots of fibre and a diet high in fibre is known to protect against cancers
- Fruit and vegetables help protect against lots of other cancers, such as oral cancer. Statistics show not eating enough fruit and vegetables is linked to over 50% of oral cancer cases in the UK
- Fibre in fruit and vegetables helps maintain good digestive health and regular toilet habits
- Fruit and vegetables aid hydration, especially those with a high water content like cucumber
So now you know why eating more fruit and vegetables is good for you, it is time to figure out how to get more of your five a day. This can be a different task for everyone, depending on lifestyle, time, budget and taste. Amongst these varied and useful tips you’re bound to find at least a few ways to increase your own fruit and veg intake:
Be More Open Minded
It is OK to not like certain fruit and vegetables, but it is very limiting to have the same fruit and vegetable prejudices you held as a child. It is a good idea to try fruit and vegetables you used to hate again, perhaps in a different way, to see if your tastes have changed. If you hate vegetables altogether, then try eating them in a different way. Good examples of transforming the traditional taste of a vegetable or fruit include:-
- Cauliflower rice
- Kale pesto
- Carrot dogs
- Beetroot or sweet potato brownies
- Barbecue pulled jackfruit
It is all about being creative and experimental, and of course, open minded. There are almost always several ways to eat one vegetable.
Make Small Changes
Often we can make the mistake of doing everything at once, which leads to a strain on the budget, added pressure and a lack of interest after a short space of time. Why not commit to making one small change a week, so you naturally get used to better habits. Switch your chocolate bar at lunch for a piece of fruit, eat a raw health bar instead of a bag of crisps on your break, have a side of salad instead of chips with your dinner one night. Small changes amount to bigger changes over time.
Get Involved In Creative Vegetable & Fruit Based Cookery
Online there are so many cool ways to eat fruit and vegetables, and so many people showing you how beneficial eating more of them can be. Deliciously Ella is known to have made herself well from an autoimmune problem after changing her diet and now has her own cookbook range and deli in London, Davina Mccall went sugar free and only has natural fruit sugar, Fearne Cotton has embraced healthy eating and even bought out a cookbook – the list is endless. Get hashtagging on Instagram and browsing blog postings on Twitter. Get scouring vegan recipes online, and chat to other people aspiring to get more fruit and vegetables in their life. If you allow yourself to get more enthusiastic about it, you’re likely to enjoy making changes more.
Don’t Feel Like You Have To Buy All The Expensive Ingredients
Most of us, if we had the money would buy expensive superfoods and organic ingredients, but it isn’t always possible and it certainly isn’t necessary to improve your health. Opt for seasonal produce that you like, and buy what’s on offer – the sooner it breaks your budget, the sooner you’ll break the habit.
If you know you’re likely to eat convenience food in the week, then prepare ahead of time so that you have ready made food to fall back on. Things that are easy to make ahead of time for the fridge could be:-
- Cut up fruit
- Ready made smoothie boxes you can just chuck in the blender
- Chilled roasted vegetables
For the freezer you could make:-
- Vegetable soups
- Vegetable lasagne
- Veggie stews
- Fruit smoothies
- Homemade pasta sauces
Have Them All In One Go
One failsafe way to enjoy all of your five a day in one go, is with a juice or a smoothie. A smoothie is certainly easier and more filling as it contains all of the fibre, and a blender is a lot cheaper than a good juicer. However, with juicers you can consume a lot more veggie and fruit goodness. You could always alternate the two, trying out different recipes and combinations.
High Five, For Your Five A Day
Hopefully these ideas have helped you feel inspired to include more fruit and vegetables into your lifestyle. Remember, only you are truly responsible for your health, and if you can help reduce your risk of cancer, improve your skin, boost your energy, and even slim down, just by adding more fruit and veg to your diet, why wouldn’t you?
Disclosure: This is a Sponsored Post.