As you may already know, it's recommended by everyone from the National Cancer Institute to the UK health department that we eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day.
The evidence is that this can dramatically reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, and many other illnesses. And it really does make a difference to your general all-round health.
So how are we all doing with this? Want to brag about your fruit & veg consumption, or get some encouragement and support if you're working on it?
And what cunning ways have people found of increasing their intake of fruit & veg? What are your favorites? Time to share your tips and tricks!
Answers to Some Frequently Asked Questions:
In case you're wondering, a "portion" is very roughly the mount you can hold in your hand. So it could be one apple, a handful of grapes, a large carrot, etc.
The official verdict from the UK health department is that potatoes don't count - we already get plenty of them - and neither do heavily processed foods like tinned baked beans.
Juice does count, but you can only count it once per day.
And the more variety the better - it shouldn't just be "banana, apple, another banana, another apple, and yet another banana" day after day after day . Think more along the lines of "grapefruit, broccoli, bell pepper, kumquats, mango"!
[This message has been edited by logic_grrl (edited 07-10-2003).]
I love fruit, but the thought of vegetables fills me with gloom I do force them down even so, coz I know they're healthy blah blah...I would love to know some ways to make vegetables more interesting. Somehow they just dont seem to taste of anything...
If you want to eat more fruit I can give you tips there - mix fruit with yogurt or ice cream, or make a fruit salad to make it more interesting. If you put apples in the fridge they taste so much nicer coz they're cold and crunchy! Try eating raisins instead of sweet-but-not-very-healthy-junk when you need something sugary.
By the way, is coconut a nut or a fruit? I've always wondered...
------------------ ~Men of quality are not threatened by women's equality~
Yay fruits and veggies! :-) In hot weather like this, I find that's all I feel like eating sometimes. Everything else just seems so heavy. I tend to keep some (unsweetened)dried fruit around to snack on -- raisins, apple rings, dates, papaya, mango, etc.-- as they don't go bad if I forget about them :-)
One question - does ginger count as far as fruit goes? I tend to eat rather impressive quantities of candied ginger if it's available, and have been wondering for a while if it has any redeeming virtue other than clearing my sinuses!
I'd count coconut as a seasoning more than anything, and ginger as an herb, with its own list of cool things it does.
-You can make a stirfry: Cut a bunch of veggies (celery, carrots, sweet peppers, mushrooms, water chestnuts, anything else crispy and yummy) into small pieces, place in a hot pan with a little dab of oil in it, cook until done to you tastes. If you're lazy, it's a good idea to cut the harder veggies (like carrots) smaller than the softer ones, so they cook about evenly. Throw in a mixture of soysauce, some water, a bit of flour or cornstarch, a teaspoon or so of sugar, and any other seasoning you like, cook until thickened, and serve on rice.
-Toss bits of cooked veg into rice dishes, or soups.
-Make a quiche or omellette, and throw in lots of veggies
-Roll up some veggies and salad dressing or salsa in a tortilla, or put 'em in a pita.
-Run a Google search on vegetarian or vegan recipes, or just X-vegetable + recipes, and you should find lots of ideas. And there're always old classics like carrot cake and zucchini bread, if you're into stealth cooking. They're not ultra-healthy, but they're healthier than the non-vegetable-containing alternative would be.
------------------ Milke, with an L, SSBD, RATS, TMNTP, MF, CWCD, DNFTF, WAOTA
Coconut is a nut. It's very fatty (lots of saturated fat!!!) and got some protein. Ginger is NOT a fruit, it's a root. And if it's candied, it's covered in sugar, which means it's probably not all that good for you in large quantities. Plain giner is quite good with fish, or cooked in with rice. mmm.
i've been eating spinach as of late. i don't get enough fruit, and that's too bad. I ate the last of the carrots in the fridge. Those were yummy.
I am the self-proclaimed queenie of fruits and vegetables. Since I'm vegan, and before that was vegetarian all my life for the most part, these puppies are my buddies.
I'm willing to bet that when the health department said juice only counts as one, they weren't talking about whole-food juices, because there's essentially no difference in drinking a whole, raw fruit or veggioe than there is in eating one, but there is a difference between whole juice and the watered-down and processed variety.
I tend to keep my fridge door stocked with a few whole juices at a time, from my co-op, and drink at least one a day. Eveything from carrot-ginger-whole lemon to spirulina, the works. It's a good way for me to be sure I eat enough during the day, because I tend not to feel all that hungry until mid-afternoon. IT's the best if you can juice at home and drink it right away, but alas, I no longer have a juicer here. Le sigh. Thankfully, there's a nice juicery just a short walk away. They do an amazing whole lemon-apple-ginger brew.
Vegetables have, actually, very strong taste when they're fresh, for real, and certainly not canned or frozen (and really, to get the most out of veggies, they should be eaten raw, steamed or flash-fried so all the nutrients don't get cooked out). So, steam 'em up and give them a squirt of lemon, lime or orange juice, use a lemon pepper or a nice spice mix, garish with chopped fresh red or yellow peppers or some roasted garlic (mmmmm). Some of my favorite steamables are broccoli, jicima, kale (great with a light orange-sesame vianaigrette), pea pods, zucchini, carrots, asparagus, artichokes, daikon radish, cauliflower, the works.
Coconut is a fruit, for the record, but it's a starchy one, so it's not really going to offer much nutritionally. Ginger is a root vegetable, like carrots, but if it's been dried and candied, it's nutrients are pretty much kaput.
I also do big veggie sandwiches w/vegan meat, piling on the peppers, some greens, loads of sprouts, shredded carrot, onions, sunflower greens, doised with a little balsemic vinegar and topped with some hummus or hot mustard. I tend to use spinach for sandwiches and things rather than lettuce, to boot, since it's got more going for me in it and is tastier as well.
I have a nice wrap sandwich I do as well that's just refried black beans, salsa, and chopped fresh pineapple, mango, avacado and sweet peppers with a big pile of spouts on top.
Another easy way to get fresh veggies in without overcooking is with simple miso soup. Cube tofu and boil it in water, put a big dollop of white miso in for a base, then toss in spring onions, pea pods, broccoli, daikon, slim cut carrot or green beans, oyster mushrooms, etc.
Pastas with a combo of flash-fried half-cut cherry tomatoes, eggplant, red onion, basil, spinach or escarole, portabella mushroom and garlic with toasted pine nuts and a dash of olive oil and vinegar also rock. That's my shortcut dinner a lot in the summer. In summer, I almost always too keep a container full of cubed melons in the fridge for after-dinner snacking. Yummy.
quote:the thought of vegetables fills me with gloom I do force them down even so, coz I know they're healthy blah blah...I would love to know some ways to make vegetables more interesting. Somehow they just dont seem to taste of anything...
Badger, I'm guessing you may be a victim of the great British tradition of Overcooking Vegetables Into Tasteless Mush .
I get a tad evangelical about this - I know a bunch of people who've been put off broccoli or brussels sprouts or cabbage for life, because they've only encountered them when cooked into soggy yellowish mulch.
Then they get me lecturing them on how properly cooked broccoli is bright green and crunchy, and wonderful with chili and garlic, or cold with lemon juice and olive oil. Then I start singing the praises of brussels sprouts with mustard, or cabbage with caraway seeds (and optional bacon for the meat-eaters).
(Usually I shut up around the point when they start putting their fingers in their ears or running away ).
Raw carrots dipped in soy sauce? Shiitake mushrooms in a stir-fry? Onions and tomatoes simmered into a pasta sauce? Grilled red peppers? Baked fennel? Chicory and orange salad? Roast parsnips? Mashed sweet potatoes? Marinaded artichokes? Avocado salad with sliced red peppers and walnuts and cold cooked broccoli?
hey folks, are you getting your 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day?
If you shook your head and said "no," you're not alone. Eating 5 servings a day can be a daunting task, or so it may seem. but really, if you know what counts as a serving, it's not so hard.
What is a serving? 1 medium sized fruit or vegetable 1/2 cup fresh, frozen or canned (in juice, not syrup!) fruits or veggies 1 cup of salad greens 3/4 cup 100% fruit or vegetable juice 1/4 cup dried fruit
Here's an example meal plan for how you can get your 5 servings in:
*Breakfast* 8oz glass of orange juice, 1 cup corn flakes (with 1 cup skim milk) and 1 banana (that's already 2 servings right there!)
*Lunch* 2oz turkey sandwich on wheat bread, 1 cup celery sticks with peanut butter, 8oz apple juice (2 more servings)
*Dinner* 6oz roast chicken, 1 cup rice and 1 cup salad greens, washed down with 8oz 100% cranberry juice. (and another 2 servings, bringing you to a total of 6 servings of fruits and veggies!)
For more information, check out California's 5 a Day Campaign http://www.ca5aday.com Also, here are some tasty ideas!
Ditch the soda, drink 100% fruit juice instead. It's tasty! No seriously, it's tasty.
Craving a milk shake? Why not have a fruit and yogurt smoothie instead?
Keep carrot sticks handy. If they're right there, you're that much more likely to grab them for a snack instead of the chips.
Get a bunch of ripe bananas (I like the ones just starting to get little brown spots on them the best) and peel them one at a time, slice them, and put the slices in single layers into plastic baggies. Freeze them. Then eat. They keep for a while, and they are tremendously sweet and have a fun texture. If you do a bunch at a time, say ten or so, it takes a little time, but you're set for cold snacks for roughly ever.
I've gotten really into cooking vegetables with everything. I'm not a vegetarian (no apologies about that) but I get well over the 5 servings a day by just cooking up some bell peppers or squash with my chicken or turkey breast, and eating it with a side of steamed carrots and broccoli sprinkled with a little garlic powder, dill weed and crushed dill seed.
Once you get used to the more subtle tastes, instead of looking for salty or fatty flavors that aren't there, vegetables are quite good.
Have to say since cutting out all processed sugars, and all starch from my diet, I feel a million times better.
Look into it, people! It's worth the trouble to learn to cook (this from a girl who refused to learn for 25 years).
That banana thing sounds good. Frozen bananas (can be in chunks here, but peel them before you freeze them) are good in smoothies, too, they have an icecream-y texture when blended. An apple, cored, and either fully peeled, or with a strip cut off around the top, microwaved for a couple of minutes, with a wee bit of sugar, cinnamon, and oatmeal, is a nice dessert, and a lot faster than baking it in the oven.
------------------ Milke, with an L, Mrs BD to you, RATS, TMNTP, MF, CWCD, WAOTA
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