Top Tips to Increase Your 5 a Day

Dinner Tips

  • Get into the habit of serving a small side salad with meals: lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, anything, then add a little salad dressing and enjoy.
  • Add lentils to stews and casseroles. Not only are they high in fibre and a great source of iron, a ½ cup of cooked lentils (about 1 dessert spoon dried lentils) counts as one of your 5-a-day.
  • Try a Meatless Monday and go for some vegetarian meals. Leaving out the meat means you have to use beans and lentils for protein. As these count as vegetables, you can get up to three to four servings in just one meal!

Lunch Tips

  • A ½ tin of baked beans counts as one of your 5-a-day so try beans on toast.
  • Soup is a great way to add veggies, especially when it is cold outside. Try vegetable soups, tomato and basil or carrot and coriander. A bowl of vegetable soup counts as 1 of your 5-a-day.
  • If you’re a big crisps fan, try making crisps with veggies instead. Try parsnip or kale crisps with a tiny pinch of salt – check out our recipe for Parsnip Crisps here.
  • Add frozen peas to shepherds pie to sneak in some extra vegetables.
  • Let older kids make their own salad – set them up with lettuce leaves to tear, cucumber to slice and avocado to dig out with a spoon. Give them some chives to chop with a scissors or cherry tomatoes to pop in. Use your imagination. It gets them out from under your feet when you are cooking and hungry kids will often eat 2-3 servings of vegetables this way before they have even sat to the table!
  • Go open face: Cutting half the carbs and reducing the calories of your sandwich is simple with one little modification: halve the bread.
  • Spice it up: Boost your metabolism and help your body burn more fat with spice! Ginger, cinnamon, cayenne, and turmeric are all easy additions that bring tasty flavour and fat-burning power to recipes.
  • Cut back on cheese: Don't overdo it with dairy in the evening. Cutting back on cheese and milk will help you have a lighter dinner — and easier digestion.

Breakfast Tips

  • 1 dessert spoon of dried fruit counts as one of your 5-a-day. Add raisins to your cereal in the morning.
  • Puréed fruit, cooked without sugar, is easy to add to cereals, yoghurt and desserts. Try red apples or ripe pears.
  • A ½ tin of baked beans counts as one of your 5-a-day so try a poached egg and beans for breakfast.
  • Want an alternative to butter? Blend an avocado with a good squeeze of lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Spread on toasted brown bread or crackers or use as a fabulously tasty dip.
  • Boost your breakfast by adding a handful of berries or a sliced banana.
  • Cooked mushrooms and tomatoes are easy to add to eggs at breakfast – to get you started on your 5-a-day. Try them grilled or sautéed with poached eggs or chopped and added to an omelets.

Snack Tips

  • Always keep fruit in sight in a fruit bowl. You are more likely to think of eating some if you see it.
  • Frozen grapes make a great alternative to hard boiled sweets. Freeze them individually and once they are frozen, store in a box or bag in the freezer until you need them. Not suitable for young children.
  • Try a simple fruit dessert like sliced banana and custard.
  • Liven up carrot or cucumber sticks with a squeeze of lime juice and a tiny sprinkle of salt.
  • Fruit tinned in natural juice is another great way to top up your 1 of your 5-a-day. Look out peaches, pears and grapefruit segments.
  • Need a sweet treat at night? Slice a banana, top with a little peanut butter and freeze on a tray for 2 hours. Eaten straight from the freezer, these treats give you a sweet hit and one of your 5-a-day.
  • A fruit crumble s a great way to add fruit to desserts. Try a blackberry & apple crumble made with fresh or frozen blackberries.
  • Too tired to cook? Frozen green beans take minutes and count as 1 of your 5-a-day.

Sarah Keogh