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Sunrise Senior Living Blog

Sunrise Senior Living Blog

7 clever ways to eat more fruit and vegetables

It's no secret that fruit and vegetables are good for us. It's no secret that fruit and vegetables are good for us.

Packed with vitamins, minerals and other key nutrients, experts have long recommended individuals should be eating five portions of fruit and vegetables everyday. As reported by the NHS, the term "five a day" gained traction after a campaign spearheaded by the World Health Organization. Promoting the efficacy of fruits and vegetables in terms of reducing risk of chronic conditions such as heart disease, cancer and stroke, the WHO explained that at least 400g of fruit and vegetables must be consumed daily to reap these health benefits in full.

And yet despite this advice being common knowledge, many of us still struggle to incorporate enough fruit and vegetables into our daily diet. It needn't be so hard, however. There are a number of simple and effective ways to increase your daily consumption of this crucial food group. Some of the best tips include:

1. Swap out potatoes
Potatoes are a staple of many meals, whether that's potatoes with a Sunday roast, chips with a take-away or new potatoes with some grilled salmon. Although potatoes do carry nutritional value, one way to diversify your palette and add more vegetables to your meals is to swap out the potatoes for another form of vegetable, the Guardian advised. For example, root vegetables such as parsnips and turnips work well as a substitute. Even sweet potatoes can bring something new to the mix.

2. Add fruit to your breakfast
It's called the most important meal of the day for a reason. A hearty and nutritious breakfast can give you the energy you need to tackle your day energized, and adding fruit to the meal is an easy way to sneak in one of your five a day, Cooking Light explained. Examples include adding avocado to toast, or incorporating chopped bananas into your porridge or cereal. Be sure to wash it down with a fruit juice or fruit smoothie. 

3. Snack on fruit
We've all been there: Mid-afternoon rolls around, the hunger pangs start in earnest and we reach for a chocolate bar, cake or bag of crisps. One way to eat more fruit and keep your afternoon snack, therefore, is to replace the unhealthy treat for a piece of fruit or vegetables instead, the NHS advised. Ditch the digestive biscuits covered in chocolate for an apple or bowl of strawberries. Or consider chopping up some celery or carrots to enjoy with a low-fat dip. Easy, delicious and nutritious. 

4. Use as many vegetables as possible
As explained by Cooking Light, adding more vegetables to a meal than the recipe dictates can be an effective strategy. For example, if your recipe for potato and leek soup suggests a certain amount of leeks, increase that measurement - the source recommends twice the suggested amount. You could also add other vegetables to the mix to gain even more nutrition. This strategy can be applied to any dish or recipe, so start getting creative.

5. Buy frozen vegetables
It can be easy to procure fresh vegetables, only to find that they have gone bad before you get around to eating them. One way to ensure that you always have a supply at home is to stock your freezer with frozen vegetables, The Guardian advised. Easily stored in the freezer, frozen vegetables can be incorporated into any dish, with ease. 

6. Cook ahead of time
We often fail to eat enough fruits and vegetables due to time restrictions - busy schedules at work and school often mean that takeaway options such as pizza and fish and chips are more appealing than a hearty homemade meal packed with vegetables. One way to avoid this temptation is to plan and cook meals ahead of time, the NHS suggested. Set aside time on the weekend to cook one large meal or several meals, that incorporate vegetables, that can then be refrigerated or frozen and eaten throughout the week. With meals ready and on hand, the desire to opt for a takeaway will likely decrease.

7. Go vegetarian once a week
According to Cooking Light, one surefire way to eat more vegetables is to go vegetarian one day a week. For example, many people are now embracing what is known as "Meatless Monday," whereby they only eat meals with vegetables. There are countless delicious, meat-free meal recipes, replete with vegetables, so research online and get cooking.

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