10-a-day and what it means for us

Just as we were getting to grips with the recommended 5-a-day of fresh fruit and veg; new research suggests that for a healthier, longer life it is recommended that we up this to 10-a-day. 10 A DAY! That sent most of us into a tizzy - do we have to turn vegetarian to manage this? How can we make this diet work?  Let’s try to figure this one out!

Why 10-a-day

We touched on the health benefits of eating fruit and veg in our #JustOneChange blog a few weeks ago. Basically fruits and vegetables are some of the richest sources of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that our body needs to function effectively and fight infections and diseases. We all know this, but do we really know the extent of this? Research led by Imperial College London has concluded recently, that eating up to 800g of fruit and veg everyday significantly reduced the risk of heart disease (24%), strokes (33%), cardio vascular disease (28%), cancer (13%) and other causes of premature death (31%). Now that puts things in perspective!.

 

Understanding 10-a-day

Breaking down the suggested 800g brings us to roughly 10 servings of 80g of fruit / veg a day in line with the .  However, not all fruit and veg are equal in nutritional value so it’s important to understand what makes a full portion. It is quite tempting at this stage to blitz all the fruit and veg into a smoothie - but that only counts as 1 portion  - regardless of all the goodness you put into it!  (any more than 150 ml of smoothies mean you’ll exceed the recommended sugar allowance for the day) This means we’ve got to get counting, which just adds to the monotony. It’s all worth it though! You’ll find this portion guide really handy.

How we incorporate fresh fruit and vegetables into daily menus at JH

Healthy eating can be fun and super delicious. We, at JH do try to incorporate as much fresh fruit and veg into our menus, as possible. As you know all our meals are created from scratch - so everything that goes into our meals can count towards the 10 a day. We have a range of different ways in which we incorporate both raw and cooked vegetables into the different meals we cook:

  • Shake 10 Salad bars - a combination of vegetables, fruits and nuts that you can pour into a salad pot, add (or not) the dressing - close the lid and shake!
  • At least 2 portions of steamed vegetables and one or two salads with all hot meals
  • The soups we serve are almost always hearty with chunky veg
  • Raw salad such as cucumber and tomatoes with every meal and veggie sticks every tuesday and thursday.
  • Making smoothies with leftover fruit from fruit bowls

All this helps towards us letting our diners make healthier choices and giving them a large variety with fruit and veg in their meal at the workplace. However to get to 10-a-day, we’ll need to factor in more than just the meals provided by us, its about incorporating a dietary change into everyday life.

What can you do at home

Not all of us are great with home cooking. And when it comes to vegetables and home cooking, it’s tempting to stick to what we’re familiar with or sometimes we might just feel lost. So, we asked Matt Byne, our Director of food, for some easy pointers to start adding more veggies to our home cooked meals. He says making small changes is the key:

  • Start with adding more vegetables (carrots, beans, celery or tomatoes) to a ragu or bolognese or replace meat entirely with beans e.g chilli
  • Pop blueberries, raspberries and banana on cereal , porridge etc.
  • Try replacing starchy spaghettis with spiralised butternut squash or courgettes (easily available in supermarkets - or get your own spiraliser to add an element of fun); Or replace carbs with veggie sides
  • Add rocket, kale or spinach to any meal - to a pasta, salad or pizza
  • Add roast carrots or beetroots to store bought hummus - great for snacking with veggie sticks or sugar snap peas instead of pita
  • Freeze grapes for a sugary (but natural) snack
  • Mix peas or corn into grains

This will not only add variety to your meal but also not feel too tedious and inspire you to go that one step further. Veg doesn’t need to be dull  - you can always add herbs, seasoning or spices to make it interesting

In the end, do what you can..

Let’s face it. Reading this article is not going to make us an overnight veggie ninja. We are definitely not suggesting ditching the meat and fish but more on the lines of bringing about a change in the way we approach food - reach out to the roast baby veg instead of the triple cooked chips.

Tell us how you’re faring - tweet or instagram us on @JustHospitality