A new study has found that we’re not eating as much fruit and veg as we should be – and the younger generation is the worst offender
Only 17% of Brits eat the recommended daily amount of fruit and vegetables, new research by British Summer Fruits has found. The study of 2,000 people also found those living in Northern Ireland and Yorkshire included the least amount of fruit and vegetables in their diet, and in some cases admitted never eating all of their five-a-day.
Are you missing out?
It’s a worrying statistic considering the wealth of evidence supporting the benefits of eating at least five portions of fruit and veg a day, and its role in lowering your risk of chronic health conditions including some cancers and heart disease.
Perhaps more worryingly, the study revealed that young people aged 16-24 are the most uninformed about what to eat. Nearly half of those in this age bracket didn’t know that fruits and vegetables are a good source of vitamin C, a crucial nutrient for boosting our immune system.
On top of this, 13% of the population don’t believe that sugar, processed foods and saturated fats (cholesterol raising fats found in meat based products like meat and dairy) are bad for health.
The Eat Smart campaign
Luckily, British Summer Fruits – the industry body which represents most of the berries we see in supermarkets – has launched the Eat Smart campaign to encourage people of all ages to start using natural, fresh and healthy ingredients to create their own meals.
In response to the 12% of people who said they believe healthy eating to be too expensive, Eat Smart has teamed up with healthy food blogger and cookbook author Madeleine Shaw for easy and delicious ways to get your fruit and veg intake.
Madeleine Shaw’s easy ways to five-a-day
1. Fruity breakfast
Adding a portion of fruit to your morning meal is the perfect way to supercharge your day ahead. A handful of berries can naturally sweeten a bowl of porridge or pancakes. Or pop a cup of strawberries in the blender with unsweetened almond milk and whiz up a quick smoothie. As few as 7 strawberries (80g) provides your recommended daily amount of vitamin C!
2. Mid-morning grazing
Keep a pot of raw fruit or chopped veggies on your desk when you need something to nibble on. Alternating between sugar snap peas, chopped carrots and a pot of mixed fruit will keep your energy levels up until lunchtime.
3. Double up on vegetables for lunch
Your lunch probably contains some veg already, whether it’s a nourishing soup or some lettuce leaves next to a juicy chicken breast. To maximise your recommended daily intake, double the quantity of vegetables you would usually have. Try to find new ways to incorporate them, whether it’s wilting some spinach into your soup or adding some tomato to your avocado on toast.
4. Post-workout raspberries
Aiding the body’s recovery after exercise is just as important as the workout itself. I like snacking on a punnet of raspberries or blending them into a shake, which is an ideal sweet treat after a sweaty gym session. Phytochemicals in raspberries, which give them their ruby hue, guard against exercise-induced muscle damage (EIMD) and can help to speed up recovery. So grab a handful of these little gems and you may not feel as stiff the next morning.
5. Treat yourself
Everyone needs a sweet treat every now and again, but a fruit-based dessert can offer a light, refreshing and, importantly, naturally-sweet ending to dinner. Blueberries are bursting with nutrients – they’re packed with antioxidants such as vitamin C, as well as being high in fibre. Add to yogurt, or blend with unsweetened almond milk and chia seeds and chill to make a pudding!