So how do you practically and enjoyably load up on veg and fruit daily?
- Have a starter with your evening meal like the Mediterraneans do. A handful of rocket from a bag drizzled in extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar, or slice up a large ripe tomato and sprinkled with a little sea salt and olive or walnut oil. Starters can be simple and quick if you have a tasty oil / sea salt / balsamic to bring out the flavours. A simple half grapefruit or slice of melon draped over a piece of serrano ham for taste as the Spanish do, are quick tricks too. Try spiralling a courgette, slicing a red onion very thin, and throwing in a bowl with a handful of pomegranate seeds which you can buy ready packaged for convenience, and drizzling with extra virgin olive oil and half a squeezed lemon and a sprinkle of sea salt and black pepper, (see pic).
- Have a piece of fruit for dessert like the French – chopped up and eaten with all the fibre. I never juice as this involves the most nutritious part, the fibre ending up in the bin! Pick something you really fancy: a passion fruit, a kiwi, at this time of year oranges, and tangerines are good.
- Try to get 2 pieces of veg and or fruit in at breakfast before you even leave the house, so less catching up later to do. Quickly slice up an avocado on the side, and throw a handful of spinach into the pan when cooking some scrambled eggs. If you’re really short of time, or not hungry till later, have a banana and a handful of walnuts.
- Soups are a great way to get more vegetables in. Making your own is great, but If you are busy, a fresh vegetable soup from the supermarket is a respectable option, and can make a great lunch if you add some protein on the side for satiety such as a piece of smoked mackerel, salmon, or some nuts. Or you can heat a cup or bowl of soup quickly as a starter in the evening. There are lots of commercial options: tomato, broccoli and pea, carrot and coriander. Asparagus is lovely this time of year.
- Order more side dishes in restaurants and less white carbs. If going Indian, bypass the naan bread, and you’ll have more appetite and room for the powerful vegetable sides. Okra, spinach, aubergines, cabbage, spring greens, pickles. Indian restaurants usually cook the vegetables with turmeric and ginger which are powerful anti-inflammatory foods so that’s a bonus. If you’re in Nando’s seek out the sweet potatoes, the minted peas alongside your chicken. I have no affiliations with Nando's - it's just an easy place I know to eat as a family without costing a lot.
Read in the Guardian about your 10-a-day