A healthy diet does not have to mean a strict diet plan involving a severe restriction of certain foods or even entire food groups.
Most experts (real ones, not just those on social media!) advise that a balanced diet is the best way forward. They also recommend eating at least five portions of fruit or vegetables a day.
While, this is something that most of us are aware on in theory, it is also something that we often overlook.
Here are five ways to make sure you get your five a day!
Don't overlook the frozen aisle
If you have a sweet tooth when it comes to your favourite fruit, then don’t forget to check the frozen aisle. Unfortunately, many of the sweeter fruits are only in season for a short period of time so buying them fresh is not an option all year around. Instead pick up some bags of frozen berries to keep in the freezer. These are also great to include in baking or smoothies.
Add at least one portion to each meal
If you want to make increasing your fruit and vegetable consumption a habit and not just a short phase then this is the best way to do it. Incorporating fruit into your breakfast does not have to mean whipping up an acai bowl or creating a large fruit platter. It can be as simple as slicing a banana into your cereal or having an apple while you wait for your toast to pop up!
As well as including an extra portion of fruit with your breakfast, aim to add vegetables to your dinner. For a quick and easy option why not chop up some carrots or peppers and add them to your pasta dish or replace your usual potatoes with sweet potatoes.
Mix it up
When compared to the wide array of confectionary options, fruit and vegetables can sometimes be considered boring additions to your diet. This could easily be the case if your five a day consumption is a repeat of the same combination of foods, but it doesn’t have to be.
Consider mixing it up and adding in fruits you wouldn’t normally like pomegranates and grapefruit. Not only will some extra variety add more taste to your diet but it will also provide more nutrients.
Include both cooked and raw options
Variety does not just mean eating different types of fruit and vegetables but also eating them in various ways. Raw and cooked vegetables often taste very different and provide unique benefits. Raw vegetables such as carrots and peppers are great options for snacks or for adding into your school lunch. Eating raw vegetables also requires less preparation.
Use as an ingredient
Using fruit or vegetables as an ingredient will not always constitute a full portion of your five a day but they can still make a difference. Choosing to substitute sugary baking ingredients with sweeter fruits every now and then will offer the same great taste without the added sugars. Smoothies are another popular and tasty option.
Check out our guide to some of the best green smoothie recipes.
Remember that regardless of how many portions of fruit or vegetables are used as ingredients in the smoothie, drinking the smoothie itself is only classed as one of your five a day (unfair I know!)
And also, health does not equal a certain number on the weighing scales.
What are your tips for getting your five a day?