Seven a day - what one portion of fruit or veg looks like
Feeling daunted by the news that the five-a-day rule on fruit and veg has now been increased to seven portions? To make it easier to work out how to squeeze all that in your diet and, just as importantly, persuade your kids to eat it here's a handy guide to what constitutes a single portion.*
Look on it, if you will, as the nutritional counterpart to an alcoholic units chart.
A portion of fruit
Apples and bananas are easy snacks to have during the day, don't need to be refrigerated and can stand up to a bit of knocking around in your handbag or a school rucksack. You could also consider an orange, a pear or a nectarine.
A zingy grapefruit can be great with a cup of coffee in the morning (and handily contains a compound which lowers insulin). Alternatively consider slicing up some apricots into some yoghurt with a drizzle of honey for a really nice alternative to cereal. You could also have a heaped tablespoon of sultanas, two handfuls of raspberries or three prunes.
If you like very sweet fruits, two satsumas are delicious in a fruit salad, or you could use strawberries - which also make a great snack. Otherwise, one portion could be just two slices of mango, one big slice of pineapple or a handful of banana chips.
A portion of vegetables
As an easy packed lunch blanche five asparagus stalks and wrap them in proscuitto as one portion, or instead have two broccoli spears in a salad. Otherwise, consider having a side helping of three heaped tablespoons of peas, carrots or broad beans with whatever you're having for lunch.
Use an onion to add flavour wherever you can as 1 medium onion counts as a serving. Likewise, try adding half a pepper to salads, stirfries or sandwiches. Otherwise, try including two handfuls of beansprouts, three heaped tablespoons of butternut squash or half a large courgette to dishes where you can.
For warmer weather, a cob of corn is lovely when barbecued, while seven cherry tomatoes will count as one serving, and can be eaten with dips like hummus or tzatziki, as well as used in all kinds of salads, sandwiches and pasta. Three heaped tablespoons of sweetcorn, one whole tomato and eight spring onions will also count as one portion of veg.
*For children a rough guide to the equivalent portion size is whatever will fit in the palm of their hands.