Research done in the UK has shown that having your recommended five-plus fruit and vegetable portions a day is not just good for your physical health, it also improves your mental health.
Fewer than one in ten Irish adults take at least five portions of fruit and vegetables per day. While this number seems to be improving slightly, we still need to work on it.
Supermarkets in Ireland seem to be having a price war at the moment when it comes to fruit and vegetables, so by shopping around you can get great bargains on a wide range of products. And don’t forget your local fruit and vegetable shops can offer a wider range, and are great for giving hints and tips on recipes to try!
Having regular family meals around a table has been shown to boost kids’ fruit and vegetable intake. Firstly, a sit-down meal is usually of the more traditional kind; in addition the table allows you to serve a salad and each family members can take what they like. Parents should also remember that they are great role models - if children see adults eating new things they are more likely to try them too.
Having fruit and vegetables chopped into bite-sized pieces and ready to eat will encourage you to use them as healthy snacks. While there seems to be an explosion of chopped salads and fruit cocktails on offer, it is always cheaper to DIY. Make up a big fruit salad (put some fruit juice on it to prevent discolouration ) and have it available for the whole family to snack on.
Make sure you are the one in ten and get the fruit and vegetable habit – it will do your heart, body, and mind good!
By Cara Cunningham, MINDI, community dietitian. For more information on diet and nutrition, please contact Maria at the Community Nutrition and Dietetic Service, HSE Dublin-Mid Leinster on (044 ) 9395518 or [email protected].