Most of us are aware of what constitutes a balanced diet; plenty of fresh fruit and veg, whole grains, lean protein and plenty of water. Experts recommend that adults consume (at least) five portions of fruit and veg a day, but anyone with a busy lifestyle knows that this can be easier said than done.
If you’re grabbing food on the go or don’t have time to prepare elaborate meals each evening, then it can be difficult to hit all the portions that you need. However, with a little forward thinking and creativity, you can find plenty of easy ways to add more fruit and vegetables into your diet. Fruit and vegetables are packed full of important vitamins and minerals (such as potassium and Vitamin C) and they’re also a great source of dietary fibre.
Looking after your health is even more important during the cold winter months, when illnesses like cold and flu are on the rise. Eating more fruit and vegetables can also help to boost your immune system and ward off diseases, so with this in mind, read on to discover easy ways to add more of these foods to your diet.
It’s so easy to grab a packet of crisps or a chocolate bar when you’re hungry, but it’s worth stocking up on healthier alternatives so you have them to hand. Keep a fruit bowl in a prominent place (even by the front door if you need to!) and grab a banana or an apple before you leave the house.
A mix of fibre and protein helps to keep you feeling fuller for longer, so try to combine the two in your snacks. Apple slices and peanut butter, carrots sticks and hummus, or celery and guacamole are all tasty combinations to get you started. If you’re craving something sweet, try strawberries with a little natural yoghurt, or snack on blueberries, grapes or raspberries. Dried fruits like apricot and mango are good too, but they are higher in sugar, so stick to smaller portions of around 30g. This is equivalent to a heaped tablespoon of raisins or three to four dried apricots.
Planning your meals in advance is one of the easiest ways to incorporate more fruit and veg and you can batch cook to save time on busier days. Set aside a morning or evening during the week to plan some nutritious meals with a high fruit or veg content so you know exactly what you need.
Meals like soups and stews are great if you want to pack in more vegetables and they also bulk out the meal if you’re vegetarian or trying to eat less meat. Throw in some beans or pulses to make it even more filling and you’ve got a tasty lunch or dinner for the next few days. It’s also a good idea to make one large batch while you have the time and freeze portions so that you’ve always got something delicious and healthy to hand.
Eat a rainbow
Many experts recommend trying to eat a rainbow of fruit and veg every day and it’s a fun way to try and encourage children to up their intake. Aim to eat something red, yellow, orange, green and purple everyday to ensure you’re getting a wide range of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
Red fruits and vegetables contain lycopene, which helps to protect the skin from sun damage. Try blending tomatoes (tinned or fresh) with fresh or jarred red peppers to make a delicious pasta sauce. Watermelon, strawberries and pink grapefruit are also packed with antioxidants and Vitamin C and they make a delicious refreshing summer breakfast.
These fruits and vegetables are packed with beta-carotene, which is then converted by the body into Vitamin A. Vitamin A helps to boost the immune system and it’s also essential for the healthy functioning of our heart, lungs, kidneys and other organs. It’s also important for eyesight, hence the idea that carrots help you see in the dark! Squash, sweet potato and pumpkin work very well in soups and stews, or snack on carrot sticks, apricots and mango. A glass of fresh orange juice in the morning is another quick and easy way to get a big hit of Vitamin C.
Yellow fruit and veg are also good for eyesight; they contain carotenoids which help to reduce the risk of developing cataracts. Add a side of sweetcorn to meals or use yellow courgettes and peppers to make delicious sauces or ratatouille. Bananas are great too; keep one in your bag for a filling snack, add them to smoothies, or chop on top of porridge.
There’s a wide range of green fruit and vegetables to choose from, all packed full of vitamins, antioxidants and fibre. Dark, leafy greens like spinach, kale and watercress are particularly beneficial; add spinach to an omelette or on top of pizza, or throw some greens in with a smoothie or morning juice.
Cucumber, kiwi fruit and green grapes are also easy to snack on throughout the day, along with a classic apple. Avocados are another great all rounder, packed with healthy fats and more potassium than bananas. Spread avocado on toast for a delicious, filling breakfast, add them to smoothies or blend them with greek yoghurt, garlic and lime juice to make a tasty dip for carrots or celery.
These foods contain anthocyanins, which can help benefit brain health, lower inflammation and fight heart disease. Red cabbage makes a great crunchy addition to salads and stir frys, or roast whole aubergine for an alternative to a baked potato. Blueberries and red grapes make a convenient on the go snack, or look for blackberries when they’re in season.
Juices and smoothies are a quick, easy and convenient way to add more fruit and vegetables to your diet and just 150ml of pure juice counts as one portion. Add a glass of fresh juice with your morning breakfast or blend up a smoothie to drink on the way to work. If you make your own then you can pack in even more fruit and veg, plus you know exactly what’s going in.
Try a blend of both fruit and vegetables, such as apples, cucumber, spinach and ginger. Blend together to make a delicious, healthy green juice, or use bananas, berries, oats and almond milk to create a delicious breakfast smoothie.
Fruit and vegetables don’t always have to be fresh and many frozen or canned varieties still contain the nutrients you need. Stock up on frozen spinach, broccoli and cauliflower, as well as canned tomatoes, peas, beans and sweetcorn. Frozen bags of berries are also great to add to smoothies or juice, or look for tinned fruit like pineapple and peaches. However, make sure any tinned fruit contains the juice only, as many varieties contain added sugar or syrup.
Stocking up ensures you always have ingredients to hand when you need them for quick, easy meal prep.
Delicious juices from the experts at Freshways
Starting your day with a glass of juice is one of the easiest ways to add more fruit or vegetables to your diet, so if you’re looking for wholesale juice products, get in touch with the experts at Freshways. We’re proud to stock a wide range of UHT juices in flavours from orange, to tomato, grapefruit, cranberry and more. We also supply fresh juices from leading brands, including Tropicana, Copella and Naked’s vitamin packed juice smoothies.
We deliver to customers throughout London, Wales and across the UK and our reliable services cater to a variety of businesses of all sizes. Whether you’re a small local cafe, bakery, or a large chain hotel, we have the juice products to suit you. We also supply a wide range of additional wholesale food products, including cheese, yoghurt, cream, milk and a variety of bread items. For more information about any of our products or services, don’t hesitate to give us a call today or get in touch via our website.