We all know eating lots of fruit and vegetables is good for our health. The 5+ A Day campaign encourages Kiwis to eat at least five servings of fruit and vegetables a day. Seems like too much of an ask? It’s easier than you think!
Here are some top tips to help you get your 5+ A Day (2 servings of fruit and 3 or more of vegetables) each day.
*A serving is about a handful and we all use our own hands – therefore a child’s serving is smaller than an adult’s.
If you aren’t anywhere near eating the recommended fruit and vege portions a day, don’t stress. There's no need to boost it to 5 all in one hit. Try eating one more serving than you normally would using the tricks and tips below. Before you know it, you’ll be eating and enjoying your fill.
Buy in season
Buying fruit and vege in season is good for your health and your wallet.
When you buy in season, produce is fresher, tastes better and has more nutritional value. For example, in winter many citrus fruits, likes oranges and lemons, have lots of vitamin C. This helps your body fight infections. In spring, asparagus is everywhere and is a very good source of vitamins, fibre, zinc, manganese and iron. Food that has had to travel around the world in a storage container loses many of these benefits.
Food that’s in season is also cheaper because it’s more abundant and doesn’t have to travel as far to get to you.
Grow your own
What’s more satisfying than growing your own fruit and vegetables? You’ll save money and be eating fresh produce that’s packed with nutrition. Also, it’s a great way to get kids excited about fruit and vegetable as they can participate by planting, harvesting then eating food they’ve grown. It also gets them thinking about where food comes from
Visit a farmers’ market
Not able to grow your own or need to top up? Farmers’ markets are great places to pick up locally grown fruit and vege that are cheaper, fresh and in season. It’s a fun social outing, too, that helps you connect with your community and support local growers.
Use canned/frozen fruit and vegies
While fresh is best, canned or frozen fruit and vege still provide good nutritional value. They are often convenient and can provide cheap alternatives when certain produce is out of season.
Join a community group
There are lots of local groups growing communal produce and offering affordable fruit and veges to those in need. There are also groups such as Community Fruit Harvesting that pick and preserve excess fruit from people’s gardens and donate it to charities, refugees, food banks, schools, and families in need.
Think outside the box
Get creative when it comes to thinking about how to incorporate 5+ A Day into your daily life. For example, homemade smoothies are a great way to pack in some of your daily requirements in one, yummy healthy hit. Also, homemade pizzas can be a tasty, fun way to get some of your 5+ A Day. And remember pulses (lentils or beans) of any type count and are also a good source of protein.
Take care with too much fruit
Fruit is good for you, but too much of it (more than 2 servings) can mean a lot of sugar in your diet. Try switching to veggie sticks if you find yourself reaching for the fruit bowl too often.
And watch out for dried fruits or fruit juices that have concentrated levels of fructose (sugar found in fruit) in them. Substitute with low salt veggie juices and fresh pieces of fruit.
Read more ways to include fruit and vegetables every day