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veg

Getting our five-a-day isn’t always easy and it’s even better to get even MORE than just five portions of fruit and veg a day – but how?

Here are some super simple ways you can fill your everyday diet with lots of fruit and veggies which are perfect for keeping your skin, body and mental health in peak condition.

Breakfast
Many people love having fruit for breakfast – in smoothies, on toast or stirred into their porridge. If you’re not one of these people then you need to be!

Porridge: Top your porridge with a whole chopped banana or some fresh berries and grated apple.

Toast: Skip the butter and grab some nut butter topped with chopped banana on toast. Perfect energy release for the long wait to lunch!

Smoothies: If you’re used to having primarily fruit in your smoothies then why not add some veg to up your intake? Kale, spinach, celery, cucumber and carrot all work really well in juices and smoothies.

Lunch
Everyone waits all morning in work and college for lunchtime – so make it a good (and healthy!) one.

Wraps: If you love a wrap for lunch, why not pack a salad and add the salad into the wrap yourself. Rather than filling up the entire wrap, fill half first and then the when you’re finished the other half. This will ensure you will fill up on the good veggies rather than the wrap.

Soup: This is a healthy option but sometimes soup that you buy in shops can be loaded with salt and often cream. Soup is incredibly easy to make in bulk and freezes very well. Make some soup loaded with veggies and place in individual lunchboxes in the freezer.

Sandwich: The best way to increase your intake of veggies in your lunchtime sandwich is to take out the majority of other things such as cheese. Half the cheese you would normally ask for and instead opt for extra lettuce, cucumber or tomato.

Dinner
It’s important at dinner that the biggest portion of your plate is taken up by vegetables, the other half divided into proteins and grains. Here is how to incorporate more fruit and veggies into dinnertime.

Spaghetti Bolognese: Cut your beef down and bulk up your Bolognese sauce with grated carrot, courgette and chopped spinach.

Curry: Sweet tastes always match perfectly with curry so accompany your dinner with mango rice – simply dice an entire mango into your rice. So easy!

Pizza: Frozen, homemade or delivery, it’s so easy to add more fruit and veg onto your pizza – mushrooms, pineapple, peppers, tomatoes, broccoli, courgette…the list goes on. 

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We’re all guilty of being stuck in something of a fruit rut – but now Marks & Spencer are here to help!

While we may LOVE fruit, the majority of us tend to stick with the more usual fruits such as apples, oranges and bananas. Any fruit is good fruit, true – but is it time to broaden our horizons?

M&S think so which is why they’ve launched Marks & Spencer’s Fruit & Veg Pledge which encourages customers to move away from the fruits and veg they would choose on a regular day and try something new.

M&S nutritionist, Helen Stevenson explains the benefits of having a variety of colour in your fruit and veg bowl: “Orange fruit and vegetables tend to be higher in carotenoids such as beta carotenes; purple colours tend to be rich in antioxidant anthocyanins and red colours such as tomatoes often contain lycophene. Including a range of colours in your meals each day can help ensure you get a range of different vitamins and minerals in your diet.”

Some of the deliciously colourful fruits on offer in M&S at the moment include the very exotic fruits; achacha, redgage, Lychees and Rainier cherries – it almost feels like summer already!

M&S are also offering a great range of enriched vegetables such as potatoes, mushrooms, broccoli and shredded brussels sprouts.

There’s nothing more healthy or delicious as the huge range of fruits that nature has to offer – so let’s get exploring! 

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Avocados are one of the most versatile fruits in the world and can be used in sweet and savoury dishes – though more commonly found in savoury.

Here are five simple ways you can use avocado!

1. In a smoothie
For a richer, creamier taste to your smoothie, add half an avocado! Not only will this add a dose of healthy fats to your smoothie but avocados are also known to contain a good amount of Vitamin C.

2. As a spread
If you’re looking for a healthy, plant-based alternative to butter, why not use avocado as a spread in your sandwiches, wraps or on toast?

3. As a pasta sauce
If you’re sick of tomato sauce on your pasta, avocado makes a great sauce base. Add an avocado to some chicken or veg stock and lemon juice along with some salt and pepper and then blend until smooth.

4. As a dessert
Once again, if you are trying to get a bit more plant power in your diet, avocados make the perfect base for a chocolatey pudding. Simply blend an avocado with some cocoa powder, vanilla extract, melted chocolate and maple syrup before placing in the fridge overnight. There you have it, the healthiest dessert in the world! 

5. As a snack
For a fast and nutritious snack, simply half an avocado, add salt and pepper and eat! You could even try adding some chopped prawns or crab meat for a posh snack. 

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We all know the amazing benefits of fruit and vegetable in our diet and we strive to eat our recommended daily dose of five a day – but it isn’t enough, it would seem.

A new study has revealed that the recommended five portions of fruit and veg a day may not be enough – and that we actually need seven or more.

The study which was carried out by the University College London found that people who ate seven or more portions of fruit and veg per day had a 33% reduced risk of dying than those who didn’t.

It was found that people who ate seven or more helpings per day had a reduced risk of dying from cancer by up to 25% and from heart disease by up to 31%.

Dr. Oyinlola Oyebode, the study’s lead author made the message of the research clear: “The clear message here is that the more fruit and vegetables you eat, the less likely you are to die at any age.”

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Ah avocados. How you trick us so.

We wait and wait for you to be perfect and then it’s too late.

Here is a foolproof way of ripening your avocado so that it will be ready for use in 24hrs.

Bananas are known for releasing high-levels of ethylene which is a hormone that ripens fruit.

Place your hard avocado in a paper bag with a banana (or an apple) and leave it for 24 hrs. When you remove it, it should be ripe enough to eat, but not too soft.

In other words, a perfect avocado. And isn’t that everybody’s dream?

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This salad would make the perfect light dinner for those of us who prefer bigger meals for lunch.

The sweetness of the roasted veg goes perfectly with the saltiness of the feta cheese.

What you’ll need: 

Serves 2

  • 2 beetroot
  • 1 small butternut squash
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 parsnip
  • 1 carrot
  • 2 handfuls of watercress or rocket
  • 100g feta cheese

What you’ll need to do: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 180.
  2. Chop all of the veg into bite-size pieces. Coat lightly in olive oil, pinch of salt and pepper.
  3. Place the veg (squash, carrot, onion, parsnip and beetroot) into a roasting tin and put into the oven.
  4. Roast the veg for about 30-35mins or until softened. Reserve any juices or oils that are left in the tin.
  5. Arrange the leaves onto two plates and add the warm veg. Crumble the feta over the top.
  6. In a small bowl, mix the reserved juices with a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
  7. Pour over the salads and enjoy!
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If you overdid it on the chocolate and rich food this Valentine’s Day don’t worry – we have just what you need.

Replace your rice with quinoa for an easier-to-digest meal without skimping on taste. Quinoa is a superfood and is a source of complete protein.

This meal would make a great lunch that you can bring to work or college with you.

What you’ll need: 

Serves one

  • 125g quinoa
  • 4 cherry tomatoes
  • 1 small tin of sweetcorn
  • 1 avocado
  • Handful of black beans, either tinned or soaked overnight and cooked
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Parsley (optional)

What you’ll need to do:

  1. Prepare the quinoa and black beans as instructed.
  2. Half the cherry tomatoes and chop the avocado into small pieces.
  3. In a bowl combine the cooled quinoa, beans, sweetcorn, tomatoes, avocado and season.
  4. If you would like a little more taste, drizzle some olive oil and balsamic over the top.
  5. Add some parsley or coriander for extra taste if you have some.
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