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May 17, 2010 | by  | in Opinion | [ssba]

Fruit and vegetables

Eating more fruits and vegetables—we’ve all heard the “5+ A Day” campaigns. Some countries even promote nine servings of fruit and veggies a day. However, many diets fall well short of this. So today I’ve got some tips for squeezing more into your diet.

At breakfast:

  • Include at least one serving of fruit in your breakfast. I mentioned some options in my Breakfast article (Salient, Volume 73, Issue 2). Add bananas or peaches to your cereal, drink a glass of 100 per cent juice, or make a smoothie.
  • My favourite breakfast is porridge with sliced bananas, sprinkled with cinnamon. It’s heavenly on a cold winter’s morning.
  • Muesli is also great for sneaking in an extra serving—raisins, flaked almonds, and/or seeds blend right in with the other ingredients.

For snacks and lunches:

  • Have at least one serving of fruit or vegetables with lunch. Fruits such as apples and mandarins are easy to transport.
  • Cut up fruits or vegetables and carry them to uni/work/wherever in a container for quick snacking. I never got lunch breaks at my old job, so I found that drinking orange juice and snacking on mixed nuts when I had a spare moment kept my energy levels up.
  • Dehydrated fruits will keep for a long time, and they won’t squash in your bag all over your textbooks. It’s also a good idea to keep a bag of dried fruit or mixed nuts on or near your desk while you study. Snacking on them will help you keep focused, and also give you a moment’s break—OOS is not cool.
  • Get creative with salads. Add oranges, strawberries or apples to your traditional green salad.
  • When making a sandwich, sun-dried tomatoes are a good substitute for fresh tomato if you have to carry it around your bag for half a day, as you don’t get juices running through and making the bread soggy.
  • Make an omelette instead of plain eggs, with chopped vegetables. Onion, capsicum and ham go really well together, but omelettes are an opportunity to get really creative—just make sure there are veggies in there!

At dinner:

  • As the government says, make sure at least half your dinner is vegetables.
  • If it’s not a meal until you’ve had dessert, fit fruit into it. Purée fruits in a blender and make your own ice-blocks, sprinkled chopped nuts on ice cream, or go for options that include fruit—I’ll have an apple crumble recipe next week.
  • Seedless grapes in the freezer also make a good substitute for iceblocks.
  • Go for fruit dipped in chocolate instead of a chocolate bar.

Also:

  • Keep a fruit bowl at home. Make sure it’s accessible, so when you’re feeling peckish you’re more likely to go for fruit than chocolate. I don’t care how much you swear by it, fruits are better for you than chocolate, and will keep you more alert for study.
  • Eat in season. It’s cheaper and the food is fresher. That means colourful fruits like strawberries and watermelon in the summer, and harvest vegetables like carrots and potatoes in winter. Canned and frozen food is an option if you can’t wait for summer, but remember that they’re not as healthy as fresh food.
  • Serve carrot sticks with onion dip rather than chips.
  • Add extra vegetables and herbs like parsley to things such as pre-made pasta sauce or salsa dip.
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