Eating more fruit and vegetables is one of the best ways to maintain good health. Dietitians and other health experts
have recommended that we should eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables every day as part of a healthy
There is a great deal of medical evidence supporting this advice and the incidence of cancer and heart disease could
be substantially lowered if we were all to eat more fruit and vegetables.
There are lots of good reason why we should have 5 servings of fruit and vegetables each day:
They have a low fat content
Fruits and vegetables naturally contain very little fat, and diets that do not contain a lot of fat, particularly saturated fat,
are good for our health. Avoid adding fat in the form of butter, margarine or oil to vegetables - try adding a little
vegetable stock for flavour, if necessary, and instead of having cream on your fruit, try lower alternatives such as
yoghurt or custard.
They have a low energy content
Fruit and vegetables have a low energy content and they are therefore a healthy addition to any reducing or weight
They are rich in fibre
Fruits and vegetables are rich in fibre, especially soluble fibre. As well as keeping the digestive system healthy, fibre
may help to reduce the risk of heart disease and certain cancers.
They provide a variety of vitamins and minerals
Fruit and vegetables proved many of the vitamins and minerals essential for good health, particularly the anti-oxidant
vitamins A, C and E that may help protect against diseases such as heart disease and certain cancers.
Vitamin A is found in the brightly coloured fruits and vegetables, as carotenoids, such as cling peaches, apricots,
butternut, pumpkin, carrot and spinach.
Vitamin C is found in most fruit and vegetables, especially broccoli, brussels sprouts, citrus fruits, strawberries
kiwi-fruits and nectarines.
Vitamin E can be found in foods such as avocado, spinach and brocoli.
How much is a portion?
Calculate your fruit and vegetable intake by using the following quide of portion sizes:
2 tablespoons fresh frozen or canned vegetables
a piece of fresh fruit
a small salad
a large slice of melon
2 tablespoons stewed or canned fruit
a small glass (100ml) of fruit juice
a cup of berries or fruit salad
1/2 a serving spoon of dried fruit.
The 5-a-day breakfast
Make a flying start to your day by slicing some fresh fruit as banana, strawberries or kiwi-fruit onto your favourite
breakfast cereal. Alternatively, enjoy a bowl of stewed fruit with plain yoghurt or try grilled tomatoes on toast.
For those of you in a hurry, simply enjoy a refreshing glass of fruit juice, or grab an apple or your favourite fruit to
take with you.
The 5-a-day lunch
Add a healthy touch to your sandwich fillings with delicious tomatoes, avocadoes, sprouts, radishes, spring onions
or whatever takes your fancy. Another option is to use a potato salad or coleslaw with apple slices, pineapple or
rainsins, or add some crunch and colour to pasta salads with green or red pepper strips, broccoli florets, carrot slices
The 5-a-day dinner
Your evening meal provides the perfect opportunity to catch up on all those delicious fruits and vegetables which you
may not have had time to prepare earlier. Try adding chopped fresh vegetables such as carrots, peas cabbage, onions
or muchrooms to soups, stews and mince, to enrich the natritional valu of an all-in-one evening meal.
Try these ideas:
Preparing home made burgers? Add a cup of grated carrot and baby marrows for every
500g of meat.
For a power packed lasagne replace half the meat with layers of vegetables suh as
brinjals, mushrooms and chopped sweet peppers.
Stuff peppers with vegetable curry, then bake them until they soften slightly.
Vegetable and fruit kebabs, baked banana in their skins and sweetcorn on the cob
are a treat for braais.
Stir-fries are a wonderful way of boosting your vegetable intake.
Use fruit as a garnish for your dinner dishes and add fresh chopped fruit to jelly for a
Especially for the children - draw a picture with fruit. Use broccoli for trees, carrots and celery for flowers, cauliflower
for clouds and a yellow squash for the sun. When it is done, eat your masterpiece and get your 5-a-day!