Increase your nutrient intake...

Adults are advised to eat 8-9 portions a day which sounds unrealistic and almost impossible to bring into day-to-day life when we think of this as eating them whole and at once. Let’s face it, we’re not going to sit chomping on our Broccoli watching Love Island…

Over the last few weeks I have thought about my intake of fruit and vegetables and how do I manage to get my 9 portions in each day, so I thought I would share some tips with you so you can implement them into your daily routine and sneak some extra portions of fruits and veggies into yours and the little ones diet.

1) Drink up!

Smoothie and Juices are a great way to introduce nutrients into the diet! Get the kids involved by making amazing colourful drinks in your blender! Each day ticking off the rainbow with all the different colours. Introduce these smoothies as part of the breakfast routine or instead of the sugary can of pop after school.

We need to aim for a good ratio of fruits and veggies using more vegetables that fruits to ensure your drink is low in sugar! How about three vegetables, 1 portion of fruit and your choice of liquid like coconut water, almond milk or even just tap water!

2) Sneak them in …

The oldest trick in the book used to be ‘if you cut them small enough, they won’t notice’. Well, that’s what we used to do with my sister! Try adding chopped vegetables to pasta sauces, stews and curries, or try and add extra veggies in your breakfast omelette. One of my new favourites is, making breakfast taste like a sweet, carrot cake desert by adding some grated carrot and fresh cinnamon into your overnight oats or porridge.

3) Snack time

What do you normally reach for to beat the mid-afternoon slump & how long does it keep you feeling full and satisfied for? The average answer in the UK is ‘biscuits that keep me full for a half hour or so and then I have more’

How about swapping your snacks to something wholesome and nutritious like, carrots and celery sticks with hummus, smashed avocado on an oat cracker or a chopped-up apple with some peanut butter. Satisfying you until your evening meal, nourishing your body with good quality ingredients and an extra portion of fruit or veggies!

4) Consider your cooking method…

Steaming is the best way to cook your veggies, retaining all the vital nutrients such as B vitamins and Vitamin C. Roasted Veggies are my personal favourite as it makes food so tasty and is so convenient to leave your veggies to roast while you prep the rest of your meal. Stir-frying is also an amazing method, super quick and can create a delicious meal while also boosting your intake of vitamin A and vital antioxidants!

I don’t recommend boiling as it reduces the quality, but if you do boil your veg, DON’T THROW AWAY YOUR WATER! Keep it and use it as the base of soups and stews to get more nutrients in! Same goes for frying as we are removing the healthy omega 3’s that are naturally occurring and replacing them for processed saturated fats instead!

5) Eat the Rainbow!

Ells Kitchen’s slogan follows as ‘colourful plate, colourful life’, and it is so true! Depending on the colour of your plant compound, they provide different nutrients and benefits to the body.

- Red – Cherries, apples, tomatoes strawberries = support prostate and urinary tract, protects against heart diseases and may reduce cancer risks

- Green – Asparagus, Avocado, Broccoli, Kiwi, Kale, Spinach = anti-inflammatory properties that support the liver functioning and detoxification, helping to balance hormones and support skin health

- Purple – Grapes, Aubergine, Blueberries, Red onion = Good for brain health, promotes healthy cognition and memory as well as providing anti-inflammatory properties

- Orange– Bananas, Butternut Squash, Carrots, Orange/Yellow Bell Pepper, Peaches = Support eye health as well as growth and development they support a healthy immune system

- White – Garlic, Cauliflower, Onions, Mushrooms, Pears = Immune system support and aid in anti-inflammatory properties they are also linked to reducing risk of some cancers.

I love checking my meals to see how many colours I have got on my plate. A great way of getting the kids involved by making a chart to tick off the colours they have eaten that day! Chances are, if they haven’t eaten purple, they’ll get the blueberries out the fridge for desert instead of a chocolate bar!

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