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Some onions

Hitting your ‘five-a-day’ has never been easier!

Written By My Farm Fresh Box

It has now been almost 15 years since the Department of Health introduced the concept of “five a day” and with delivery direct to your doorstep, it has never been easier to enjoy the benefits of a wide range of fruit and vegetables.

As one of the DoH’s most popular, and enduring, campaigns, the ‘five a day’ message has recommended that we should all be aiming to eat at least three portions of vegetables and two portions of fruit per day to ensure we are getting enough nutrients and vitamins.

Almost all fruit and vegetables can count towards your daily target - a single portion is classed as 80g which equates to either two small pieces of fruit (i.e. a satsuma), one medium piece of fruit (such as a banana), two broccoli spears or perhaps three heaped tablespoons of cooked vegetables such as peas and carrots.

However, one exception to the rule is potatoes. Whilst clearly a vegetable, they do not count towards the five-a-day target due to their heavy starch content. Other root vegetables such as parsnips and swede do count as they are often eaten as a side dish alongside other veg.

What are the health benefits of ‘five-a-day?’

Five a Day - Healthy Fruit and Veg Box
Health benefits of five-a-day include a trimmer waist

We all know that eating natural foods is much better for our waistlines than munching on a diet of processed ready meals, but did you know that hitting your ‘five-a-day’ target can also help to reduce the risk of several major health concerns?

For instance:

  • Cruciferous veg such as cauliflower and broccoli can reduce the risk of all types of cancer.
  • Apples, Pears and Citrus fruits have been found to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease and cardiovascular disease.
  • Green leafy vegetables such as spinach or kale and pickled vegetables may lower the risk of strokes.
     

Bored of eating the same fruit/veg? How about these for inspiration...

Whether you’ve grown up with the ‘five-a-day’ message, or simply enjoy a traditional British meal filled with meat and two veg, it’s never been easier to find new ways of hitting your target. A quick browse online will fill you with inspiration for meal ideas which are not only packed with fruit and veg, but are quick and easy to cook without lacking flavour or excitement.

Here are some of our favourite recipes to boost your fruit and vegetable intake:

Breakfast

  • The traditional English breakfast doesn’t need to be confined to your local greasy spoon, it can actually be an easy way to have a healthy, hearty breakfast. Instead of relying on fatty fried food, why not have two poached eggs accompanied by grilled Portobello mushrooms or tomatoes? You could even include half an avocado with a sprinkling of pumpkin seeds to your plate. Mmmm delicious!

Five a day fruit and veg box
A delicious fresh breakfast of poached eggs

  • Start off the day with a refreshing and delicious smoothie. Although Public Health England states that a smoothie will only count for a maximum two portions of your five-a-day target (due to the reduced fibre content), it is still a quick and easy way of consuming a wide range of fruits and vegetables. For instance, why not try a blueberry smoothie – simply blend a portion of frozen blueberries with ½ small banana, a portion of cucumber, a tablespoon of chia seeds and a cup of water.

Get five a day with fruit or vegetable smoothie
Choose a smoothie to help reach your five-a-day fruit and veg target

Lunch

Salad is much more than just leaves! Long gone are the days of dull salads filled with iceberg lettuce, soggy cucumber and the odd cherry tomato. Don’t be scared to add fruits to your salad – pears, strawberries, cranberries and clementine’s work wonderfully in salad boxes so take the time to be adventurous.

Make salad interesting with fruit
Make salads exciting by added fruit

To make sure you stay satisfied all afternoon, remember to pack in the protein, whether it’s a boiled egg, some smoked salmon or even some cashews or pine nuts to pack in the flavour. It will keep you fuller longer and avoid the need to hit the vending machine for that afternoon KitKat!

  • Try this recipe for a refreshing pear and pomegranate salad: a plateful of baby spinach, two firm Bartlett pears (sliced), a handful of dried cranberries, two handfuls of pomegranate seeds, a handful of toasted walnuts or cashews, a drizzle of olive oil and apple cider vinegar and a scattering of feta cheese. Wow.
  • Not a salad fan? Then try to fill your sandwich or wrap with extra veg, whether it’s green leaves such as spinach, rocket or cress, a tablespoon or two of chopped red pepper, a spring onion, slice of avocado or even the addition of old favourites such as cucumber and tomatoes. It all adds up, and you will benefit from the wide range of nutrients.

Dinner

A dinner time favourite here at myfarmfreshbox is foil wrapped salmon fillets with veggies – you can literally use whatever leftovers you may have in the fridge and it’s so quick and easy that you’ll be sat at your table within 30 minutes!

Salmon fillet and vegetables
Salmon fillet and vegetables

  • This Teriyaki Salmon and Veggies is always a big hit; Take a sheet of tinfoil and add a generous serving of broccoli, carrots, babycorn, mangetout and sweetpeas in an even layer. Brush a skinless salmon fillet with some teriyaki sauce and place on top of the vegetables. Wrap the foil into a loose parcel (leaving room for the heat to circulate) and bake in a pre-heated oven until the salmon is cooked through (approx. 25 mins). Serve with rice.

Looking for a vegetarian alternative? Why not try a tasty bean chilli? Beans, pulses and lentils also count towards your ‘five-a-day’ target as they are packed full of fibre. This is a great hearty recipe which can be eaten alone (with a sprinkling of grated cheese) or with rice. It also freezes fantastically well so is ideal for those who enjoy batch cooking.

  • Lightly fry half an onion and a clove of garlic until soft, add chopped chillis, courgette, mushrooms and red pepper and season. Add in some chilli powder, cumin seeds and coriander and stir. Add a tin of chopped tomatoes and your chosen beans (we love a combination of butter beans, kidney beans and pinto beans), half a glass of red wine, 100mls of water, some mixed herbs and simmer until thickened. 

If you have been inspired by any of these recipes to aim for your ‘five-a-day’ why not sign up for one of our My Farm Fresh pre-packed fruit or pre-packed veg boxes? Full of wonderful seasonal produce to help you on your way, it will arrive direct to your door helping you to get started quicker than ever! Alternatively, if you have a recipe in mind, why not ‘pick your own’ veg from our online shop?

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