The latest government health survey suggests only 28% of adults are getting 5 a day, and children are getting even less.
There are cases of malnutrition right here in the UK every year. A 32 year old woman died in January 2019 from malnutrition, following a diet of Irn-bru and wotsits. A 19 year old from Bristol that went blind in September 2019 because he lived on processed food and hated fruit and vegetables.
The truth is that 5 a day most likely isn’t enough now.
Much of the vegetables and fruits we are consuming have nowhere near the nutrient content they did 100 years ago. Firstly, that’s down to how they’ve been grown; they will only be as nutrient dense as the soil they’ve been grown in. Industrial farming is stripping nutrients from the soil through pesticides and other chemicals to make our vegetables grow faster and bigger. The other issue is how old they are when they reach us.
Did you know the average supermarket apple is over a year old?
And then finally, what little nutrients are left get destroyed through our cooking practices if we are not careful.
What can we do?
Eat vegetables seasonally and organically where you can and aim to make every meal at least one third vegetables.
Here are some tips…
Eggs are my favourite thing to have for breakfast. The protein balances my sugar levels all morning leaving me feeling full and with energy and focus. They also make a great lunch or dinner.
Try egg muffins
You can fill them with anything, my favourite is spinach, tomato, pepper and onion. Delicious hot or cold, so perfect for making in advance and eating on the run.
Great for using up some left over veggies from last nights dinner, or try using a bag of stir fry vegetables. Finish under the grill.
Perfect for when you are in a hurry, just throw it all in the frying pan, pour the egg over the top and scramble. Cooks in minutes!
There’s nothing better than drinking down a delicious smoothie knowing it’s packed full of goodness. My favourite ingredients are frozen berries, spinach & kale, organic kefir, half a tea spoon or turmeric, a teaspoon for milled seeds topped up with coconut water. Try experimenting, there are so many sweet vegetables like carrots and peppers.
Keep a box of ready prepared chopped salad in the fridge. I keep mine with different leaves, cucumber, tomatoes, carrot, & pepper. Then it’s so easy to add a handful as a side to every meal.
One pot recipes
I’m all about quick and easy meals so I love a one pot recipe that feeds the whole family, and it can sit cooking away until everyone is ready for it. You can hide all sorts of vegetables in them. Some of my favourites are Chilli made with half mince and half veggies. Courgettes, aubergine and sweet potato are especially good. Thai or Indian flavoured curries, again half meat half veg. Keep a good selection of spices in your cupboard and then it’s easy to mix it up. You can go Mexican inspired one day and Moroccan the next. Pair with courgette spaghetti or cauliflower rice (or go half normal rice/half cauliflower).
My final tip is don’t be afraid to add healthy fat to your veggies to make them taste delicious. Olive oil cold on salads and a nob of organic butter to steamed kale is wonderful!