Introduction

Introduction

By
Randi Glenn
Contains
0 recipes
Published by
Quadrille Publishing
ISBN
978 184949 587 5
Photographer
Dan Jones

Thrive on five five-a-day the easy way

Many of us think we get our five portions of fruit and veg a day regularly… but most of us actually fall short, with even ‘healthy’ eaters often underestimating what they need. Did you know, for instance, that most shop-bought salads contain only one or two portions? Despite our efforts, the average intake is still only 3.5 portions a day. And this is in the face of growing evidence which suggests that five-a-day should be a minimum target, with increasing numbers of countries issuing guidelines for their citizens to eat five portions of vegetables plus two of fruits daily, or seven portions, or ten portions, or even vegetables ‘in abundance’, for optimum health. It’s clear that more is – in this case – better.

But don’t worry. This book will make it really easy to eat at least five-a-day. Taking inspiration from around the world, most of our recipes contain all of your five-a-day, while others will help you add extra portions through snacks, puddings or drinks. Ensuring you get your five-a-day in a tasty way has never been easier, we have done all the work for you. All you need to do now is to make the food! And we’ve even made that simple: all the recipes have easy-to-find ingredients and none are hard to cook. If you eat one of our five-a-day dishes for lunch, then the job’s done and you’ve no need to worry about how much fruit and veg you eat in the evening. If you pick up a piece of fruit or eat more veg in the rest of the day, you’ll exceed the goal.

Why five?

The five-a-day idea was conceived in California in 1991 at the National Cancer Institute, then adopted by the World Health Organisation in 2003. Its influence grew rapidly, spreading around the globe, and it is now a near-universal concept.

We all need to eat more fruits and vegetables, particularly vegetables, as they are lower in sugars. The proven health benefits are enormous: reduced risk of heart disease, strokes, obesity, type-2 diabetes and some cancers. Eating more vegetables allows us to maintain a healthier weight, helps reduce cholesterol and gives us better resistance to common ailments such as colds. To take full advantage of the wide variety of phytochemicals and nutrients in fruits and vegetables, we should ideally eat at least five portions of five different types each day. Our recipes are designed to help you do just that.

Fruits and vegetables should make up about one-third of our daily food, according to NHS guidelines. These foods are not only high in fibre and low in fat, they are also a rich source of vitamins, minerals and other health-giving substances such as antioxidants, essential for good health and protection against all kinds of disease.

The challenge

The five-a-day message is drummed into us daily – by the media, at the doctor’s surgery, or as we wander down the supermarket aisle – but we still fall short of the target. Why? It’s not that we lack good intentions. In fact in the most recent recorded year we threw away more than 12 billion portions of fruits and vegetables!

Research tells us there are two simple reasons. First, preparing vegetables that the family all like with every meal can be time-consuming. Second, most of us just don’t find vegetables interesting enough. But with the range of new, creative recipe ideas in this book, vegetables never need to be a plain or boring afterthought again.

Making vegetables really tasty and easy to prepare is the key to meeting the five-a-day challenge and we believe, with this collection of recipes, that we’ve done it. As you become a regular Thrive on Five cook, you’ll probably find you are naturally eating meat less often. You don’t need it with every meal but, for those days when it is on the menu, we have suggested which recipes go well with meat, or indeed fish.

Our recipes and your lifestyle

Whether you’re vegetarian, vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free or low-carb, you’ll find plenty of dishes here to suit you. And most of them can easily be adapted for other diets. Many of our recipes are already low in calories but, if your goal is to lose weight, you can reduce the calorie count further by limiting the amount of oil or cheese you use.

And there’s no denying that snacking is now part of everyday life, but the most common snacks – think crisps and biscuits – are not always healthy. If you’re in the mood to snack, we have added a section of tempting recipes which include anything from one to four portions of veg, to use as a ‘top up’ to help you get to five-a-day.

One beauty of so many of our dishes is that you can make them in larger quantities and store them in the fridge so, when you get in late from work or don’t have time to cook for the kids, there’s no need to microwave a ready-meal or head for the take-away. Instead, you can eat a delicious, hearty meal that is also doing you all good.

What is a portion, and how to use this book

Adults should eat at least five 80g portions of five different fruits or vegetables a day. Many people don’t realise, for example, that even if you’re mad on broccoli and eat it until it comes out of your ears, it still only counts as one portion. Our recipes use more convenient measures where possible but we also include the intended gram weight of the relevant ingredients, so it’s easy to see where your portions are coming from.

Children should aim for five different varieties of fruits or vegetables a day but they need not eat the full 80g of each. Our Kids 5 recipes are based on five portions of 40g each, while most of our Everyday 5 recipes are intended to serve two adults and two children.

Smoothies which include two or more whole vegetables or fruits only count as two of your five-a-day, however much you put in.

Beans and pulses count as only one of your five-a-day, however much you eat.

Potatoes do not count (but sweet potatoes do).

For a fuller description of what counts as a portion, the government produces a guide that can be found at www.nhs.uk/Livewell/5ADAY/Documents/ Downloads/5ADAY_portion_guide.pdf

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