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To think that the vast majority of people can't afford or won't buy 7 portions of fruit and veg a day

(329 Posts)
LaurieFairyCake Wed 02-Apr-14 08:04:28

After listening to the debate on radio 5 yesterday Richard Bacon was making the point that it was easy as the portions were small.

No, they're really, really not!

I've just looked at the Daily Mail run down of how much you have to eat and I think it's actually prohibitive financially.

2 nectarines,
3 heaped tablespoons of sweetcorn,
Quarter of a big broccoli or cauliflower,
3 heaped tablespoons of mangetout
7 spears of asparagus
Half a pepper

All one portion

Seriously no one can afford that. In Aldi it's only 4 spears in a portion to buy for 79p so I need £1.60 to buy one portion of asparagus - obviously I wouldn't as I'm not an eejit.

Eating seasonally not so easy either as you can only get your nutrition from one thing twice in a day. So only two apples.

I reckon shopping in Aldi I'm going to need to spend about £8 a day for a family of 3 adult eaters for fruit and veg. So that's £56 a week just on fruit and veg.

arethereanyleftatall Wed 02-Apr-14 08:11:35

You don't have to eat the most expensive fruit and veg. Frozen peas, frozen corn, carrots, bananas, cabbage are all cheap.

Osmiornica Wed 02-Apr-14 08:14:02

They've said frozen isn't included so it has to be fresh.

Nottalotta Wed 02-Apr-14 08:15:07


1 banana (i paid 58p for 6 yesterday)
Frozen peas & sweetcorn
Some salad on a sandwich
Baked beans

Its not all expensive.

I generally have 3 portions of fruit. Its then very easy to make the other 4 up as veg.

Nottalotta Wed 02-Apr-14 08:15:48

Frozen not included? Its 'better' than fresh often.

JemimaMuddledUp Wed 02-Apr-14 08:16:10

Asparagus probably isn't the best example. I can't imagine that many people on a budget rely on asparagus to get their 7 a day.

A big bag of frozen veg (eg broccoli, peas, carrots, sweetcorn, green beans) costs around £1 and contains at least 10 portions. Frozen berries cost about £2 for 5 or 6 portions. A bag of 7 apples costs about £1.50, same for a bunch of 7 small bananas. A 500g bag of raisins costs less than £2 and a portion of them is only 30g so that is 16 portions. You can use pulses as one portion and dried pulses are really cheap.

It is as expensive as you choose to make it. If you are relying on asparagus and mango it will obviously cost more than carrots and apples!

5ofus Wed 02-Apr-14 08:16:30

It's not an edict. You don't have to eat any at all. And there are cheaper ways of doing it than asparagus.

Some scientists have written a report that's all. It reinforces what we already knew.

Agree most people won't. But I don't agree it's too expensive for most people.

JemimaMuddledUp Wed 02-Apr-14 08:17:13

Why are they not including frozen? Is there a link to this? Frozen has always been included before.

MiniSoksMakeHardWork Wed 02-Apr-14 08:17:26

I remember reading about the 7 pieces of fruit and veg about a year ago. Back then it was said they wouldn't change the advice from 5 a day as a lot of people find it hard to even manage that.

I don't think there is much of a cost implication to it as if you shop around you can certainly get good prices on seasonal vegetables and fruit. I think it would be harder to keep it fresh though as many people don't or can't go shopping throughout the week, and a supermarket delivery can be expensive for either a minimum order or just a few bits of fruit and veg. In days gone by of course the local (now defunct) green grocer would deliver very locally and very regularly.

daisychicken Wed 02-Apr-14 08:19:00

I found the nhs guide for portions which is I think helpful:

nhs guide

It doesn't mention frozen but does include canned fruit and vegetables and dried fruit.

1 nectarine is a portion not 2 but as prev mentioned, you can choose the cheaper fruit/vegetables plus buying in season/on offer rather than out of season is cheaper too.

I'm always suprised at how small a portion actually is.

Ponkypink Wed 02-Apr-14 08:22:09

The report did actually say that people who ate frozen or tinned had a greater risk of health complications, so Osmiornica is right. Also the amount of salad you put in a sandwich is maybe 1/10 of a portion, so that's no use. All this study shows is that better off posher people are less likely to have health problems, really, which is not new. Also the reported intakes were not actually objectively measured, which the study itself admits, so there is no way to know whether all the middle class types were claiming to eat 7 portions when actually they mean a wee bit of salad in a sandwich full of other crap.

Ponkypink Wed 02-Apr-14 08:24:12

It's 80g, that's a lot more than one satsuma/nectarine unless you are buying massive ones somewhere (nectarine stone/satsuma skin obviously doesn't count!)

UptheChimney Wed 02-Apr-14 08:31:45

I often make a delicious lunch of grilled courgettes. 2 or 3 grilled: very filling. And cheap.

Nottalotta Wed 02-Apr-14 08:32:24

Also, 3tbsp. Has anyone actually looked at a proper tbsp recently? They are tiny. TINY!!

If we have peas and sweetcorn, which we do about once a week, we have a tin of sweetcorn and the same amount of peas between two of us. I haven't bothered to count it in tbsps but it would be about 12 each.

And i clearly have more salady sandwiches than some. Byt its all about the small changes. A bit of salad is better than none.

Nottalotta Wed 02-Apr-14 08:33:22

uptthechimney we do that, and add onion and mushrooms etc. Lovely.

LaurieFairyCake Wed 02-Apr-14 08:33:26

It's definitely 2 nectarines for one portion.

That's why I'm so surprised, the portion seem much bigger than before, perhaps to compensate for nutritional loss in modern veg?

The examples you're all giving to justify in can be cheaper are not right - it's one whole parsnip for one portion so those bags of frozen veg for a £1 don't contain 16 portions, they contain about 3.

Who is going to eat a whole parsnip for one portion? When's the last time you cooked Christmas dinner and allowed a parsnip each. grin

And salad, you need a whole bag of salad for that sandwich for it to count as one portion.

LaurieFairyCake Wed 02-Apr-14 08:35:07

A whole cob of sweetcorn is one portion

ErrolTheDragon Wed 02-Apr-14 08:36:59

I wouldn't trust the DM's slant on that report.

Frozen - I don't think they really studied it. I'd be reasonably confident that eating frozen veg/fruit is a hell of a lot better than not eating it - other studies reckon so. Ditto unsweetened tinned stuff.

There's always cheap veg to be had - onions, carrots, some sort of greens. 'basics' peppers are cheap at the moment. There's usually some cheap citrus fruits.

Then there's the question of what you're eating if you're not eating veg. That costs money too.

A 'bolognese' sauce made with half the amount of meat but with chopped veg (celery,onion,carrot, pepper, tinned toms) will cost less than one made with mostly meat. Serve with some sort of greens (whatever's cheap), whatever pasta/cheese you usually have - lots of veg, not expensive, tastes good.

LaurieFairyCake Wed 02-Apr-14 08:37:03

One whole sweet potato
7 cherry tomatoes

Both one portion.

And I keep saying nectarines when I mean clementines - 2 clementines are one portion

CountessOfRule Wed 02-Apr-14 08:37:37

I have about three parsnips - yum.

I'm surprised by the portions because when I was under the dietician the declared portions were far smaller - palm of your cupped hand, roughly.

I think people will give up if they think they can't do it. Setting a low target ("at least five, preferably seven, nine or more is best") at least means people try.

LaurieFairyCake Wed 02-Apr-14 08:38:54

30 olives - one portion
A whole pack of watercress (75g), one portion

30 olives is loads - we eat olives a lot but I've been serving up about 10 thinking it's one portion

LaurieFairyCake Wed 02-Apr-14 08:40:05

150g pot of guacamole = one portion
200g pot of hoummous = one portion


Joules68 Wed 02-Apr-14 08:42:02

Grow some? You don't even need a garden for that

Also, you say it's too expensive, but what else do you buy? Food IS expensive. If it's veg or cakes!

BeyondIsBloodOfTheDragon Wed 02-Apr-14 08:42:58

Even this sweet potato? grin

ErrolTheDragon Wed 02-Apr-14 08:43:01

I don't believe those 80g portions for most things - I never have. 80g of peas would be ridiculous, and it's really hard to fit 3x80g of raw greens into a pan.

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