We’re all used to hearing that we need to get our 5 a day in but you may have heard people speaking about aiming for 10-a-day. Why is this? Back in 2017, a large systematic review (this is a large analysis and review of lots of studies on a topic) concluded that the greatest risk reduction in cardiovascular disease, cancer and all-cause mortality was observed when 10+ portions of fruit and vegetables were consumed daily (1). This is pretty cool seeing as CVD and cancer are the top causes of death in Ireland. It’s also not surprising when you think of all the good vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and fibre in them!
However, recent results from the National Diet and Nutrition Survey (NDNS) Report for Northern Ireland showed that on average 80% of adults were not meeting the recommended five-a-day (2). On average adults aged 19 to 64 years consumed 3.4 portions per day while adults aged 65 years and over consumed 3.3 portions per day (2).
The benefit of such a high intake is appealing but it might also be a little daunting, and that’s okay! “10-a-day, but that’s nearly double? How do you even go about doing this?”Keep reading to find out:
1. Build your breakfast around them
Breakfast is a meal which is typically low in fruit and vegetables. A few simple tricks can help to rectify this. Try adding some grilled tomatoes, sautéed mushrooms and wilted spinach to your usual eggs. Or if you have a sweet tooth at breakfast time try topping your oats with berries or chopped banana.
2. Dish them up for dinner
Dinner is a great opportunity to fill up on different vegetables. They’re also low in calories so they’re great to fill up on if you’re someone who gets very hungry in the evening. Top tip: take the opportunity to cook double for lunch the next day!
3. Get sneaky
If you or someone you cook for struggles with eating vegetables, then sneaking them into meals is for you! Curries, stews, casseroles, bolognaise, chillies, omelettes and lasagnes are all perfect hiding places for veggies, am I right? Chop them up small and you won’t even know they’re in there! Our chilli con carne is great for this.
4. Jazz them up