Do not fear 7 a day!

Kathie Auton - 02 April 2014

Girl eating an appleApparently 5 a day is not enough. That’s what I heard on the news yesterday morning. It was April Fool’s Day, but still, I’m pretty sure this isn’t a joke.

I know many people, maybe parents in particular, might be letting out a groan as the advice suddenly jumps from 5 a day to 7 a day. But do not fear. For one thing, the government is apparently sticking to its ‘5 a day’ advice, maybe they’ve just had loads of posters printed or something. They say it is ‘sufficient’. However, if you fancy doing more than just being ‘sufficient’ in your diet, then go for the 7. It’s okay, it’s not going to be that hard.

Really, we should be eating more fruit and veg than anything else shouldn’t we, and we know it too. There’s that famous quote from Michael Pollan; ‘Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.’ And that seems to be a lot more helpful than a trying to stick to a number. I’m not really sure I need all the stats and facts about cancer and heart disease either, I’m pretty sure that I just know it’s a good plan.

The BBC’s news story on this says, and this really is a quote: ‘Fruit juice conferred no benefit, while canned fruit appeared to increase the risk of death’ - perhaps this is an April fools story after all… And again, this seems to be a bit obvious doesn’t it? Not the death bit, that’s weird, but a fresh pear has just got to be better for you than a tinned one and I say this as someone who has absolutely no intention of giving up tinned pears. Ever. I love them.

So, do not panic. Be calm and eat more fruit and veg. There are lots of ways. Insert it into meals where it’s missing, like fruit with breakfast, replace a few biscuit snacks with a banana, or mush one in toast if you haven’t done that in a while, it’s all good. The current government advice says you can include frozen veg too, and dried fruit and pure juice. So, buy nibbling a few dried apricots and sinking a glass of OJ, you’ll hit 7.

You could think about getting a lovely organic fruit or veg box too. There are lots of great ones available and they nearly all come with recipe suggestion cards. You could switch a few meaty meals to veggies ones too if you’re a meat eater. You could grate a carrot into your pasta sauce or throw in a lump of frozen spinach. Grill a tomato to have alongside your steak – there are very few meals that aren’t made better by a bit more veg.

So there we go, no stress, just more veg or fruit additions to your day and you’re there... What two things could you do to make your 5 up to 7?

Kathie has two young children and is taking a break from teaching to be a full-time mum. She is passionate about cooking and growing good food and takes any opportunity to get her kids involved in the kitchen.

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Elisabeth Winkler
24 April 2014 12:14

Yes, seven a day is enough to make you feel like eating one a day! Thanks for encouragement. So the portions are only tiny ones? Good. My latest wheeze is pesto made of loads of nettles/watercress/rocket poured over pasta. And smoothies of course.... and trail mix...And Co-op's cut-up fruit in natural juice which - like your tinned pears - are not to be abandoned!

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