Five tips to help you get your 5-a-day


Hi Guys,

This week someone asked me about vitamin supplements. The fact is that scientists can’t agree on whether they are actually effective at all. But what they do agree on is that supplements are no substitute for getting your vitamins and minerals naturally. And that means fruit and vegetables. Here’s a few tips below on how to get more fruit and veg into your diet…

1. Potatoes don’t count
Personally, I consider potatoes a starch rather than a vegetable. Over-consumption of carbohydrate is one of the main reasons that the UK has a growing obesity problem. We’re overloading on carbs, we’re carrying too much fuel around in our bodies and then we’re not burning it off. That fuel is then stored around our waistlines.

Last week I talked about carbohydrates and how to get the right sort of carbohydrate into your diets. Essentially, it meant ditching starchy sources of carbohydrate such as white pasta, rice and potatoes and then replacing them with grains, beans, whole-wheat options and vegetables.

2. Colour co-ordinate your veggies
Here’s where the old phrase “eat your greens” isn’t strictly true. The more variety of different colour vegetables you can get into your body, the better. They all contain different minerals and nutrients which will help your body stay healthy. So when you’re perusing the fruit and vegetables section at the supermarket next week, make sure you’re picking out a real mixture of green, reds and yellows.

3. The 50% rule
For too many people, vegetables are an afterthought. They’re stuck on the side of the plate to ease any guilt about what the rest of the meal contains. Sadly, your body doesn’t see it that way. A spoonful of vegetables will NOT cancel out the sins of the rest of the plate. Bad news, guys – if 75% of the food on your plate is crap, then that cursory bit of broccoli you shoved on the side of the plate is pretty pointless.

I make it a commitment that every meal half of my plate is vegetables. Now BEFORE you all start groaning, that’s actually a lot easier than it sounds. I hold my hands up and say that I’m no great shakes in the kitchen. But there’s so many great websites out there, such as BBC Good Food, which list hundreds of recipes for tasty stir fry and salads.

4. Out of sight, out of mind
If you know you’re prone to raiding the biscuit tin, then keep it away from you. Instead have loads of fruit around you so that if you are hungry you’ll eat them first.

If you work at a desk, have easy stuff like apples, grapes, bananas and oranges to hand. The admiring glances you’ll get from your colleagues will force you to eat them and ensure you don’t endure the walk of shame to the vending machine mid-afternoon.

5. Cook, don’t kill
Boiling broccoli to within an inch of its life is not the way to cook vegetables. By nuking them, all you’re doing is draining them of all the good stuff. Instead try steaming your veggies instead.

In terms of how long you should cook them for, then do the good old-fashioned taste test; the crunchier, the better.

Hopefully that’s answered some of your questions. I’ll be posting more stuff on our facebook page over the weeks ahead.

Take it easy

Founder, Absolute PT

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