Eating five portions of fruit and veg every day can help keep your heart healthy and reduce the risk of heart disease. As supermarket shelves are emptier than usual, Heart Research UK have some tips to help you achieve your 5-a-day during this challenging time.
What counts as a portion?
Eighty grams of fresh, frozen or tinned fruit and veg or 30g dried fruit count as one portion. For example, one fresh pear or banana, two small plums, or three heaped tablespoons of peas. Beans and pulses also count, but you should only count these once as they contain fewer nutrients compared to other fruit and veg. 150ml of fruit/vegetable juice or smoothie also counts, but you should limit these drinks to no more than one a day due to the sugars they contain.
Top up with lentils
Lentils are a versatile ingredient and a great source of fibre, which is good for heart health. Try replacing some of the meat in your bolognese sauce with a handful of lentils or try adding lentils to homemade soups.
Include tinned, frozen and dried fruit and veg in your meals
As the population is being encouraged to make fewer trips to the supermarket, you may find that you need to rely on the food in your store cupboard and freezer more than usual. Try adding dried or frozen fruit to your bowl of breakfast cereal in the morning and include a variety of frozen or tinned veg with your evening meals. Tinned fruit with yoghurt can also provide you with a healthy dessert.
Enjoy homemade soups for lunch
Homemade soups are an easy way to increase your veg intake. You can include a variety of tinned, fresh and frozen veg in soups. There are lots of healthy vegetable soup recipes available online, but here is one to get you started.
Easy-peasy pea soup.
- 1 tbsp rapeseed oil or vegetable oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 400g frozen peas, defrosted
- 500ml vegetable stock
- Salt and pepper
- Fresh mint, finely chopped (optional)
Heat the oil over a medium heat and stir in the chopped onion. Gently fry the onion until soft, but not browned. Add the peas and stock, bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Puree the soup using a blender and add salt and pepper to taste. If you have fresh mint available, you can add this at the end.