Welcome to Week 2 of our Shaw Nutrition Challenge!
We’ve been challenging our nutrition students to make real improvements to their health.
We are determined to show that it really is the little things that matter when it comes to health and wellness. In order to to achieve this, we’ve been setting our students a new challenge every week. Check out #ShawNutritionChallenge on our Twitter and Facebook to find out how everyone is getting on.
Can you hit your target of two fruit and five vegetables a day?
It is now recommended older children, teens and adults should aim to have at least 2 servings of **fruit **and 5 servings of vegetables or legumes each day.
However, there are no real limits on the amount of fruit and veg you should eat, particularly veg as it is lower in calories. All food has calories, so as long as you stay within your requirements, eat as much as you like. It is better to overindulge on fruit and veg than to starve and then eat lots of chocolate. But if you want to lose weight you will have to count the calories from fruit and veg.
After the success of last week’s water challenge, we’ve decided to up the ante a bit. In true Shaw Academy fashion, our students have already started impressing us with some fantastic recipes and ideas. Head over to Twitter and borrow some inspiration!
Why bother increasing your fruit and veg intake?
They are an excellent source of fibre.
Fruit and veg provide us with an array of vitamins and minerals including but not limited to potassium, folate, Vitamin A and Vitamin C.
Folate is very important in expecting mothers to prevent spina bifida. Potassium is helpful in maintaining a healthy blood pressure. Vitamin A keeps eyes and skin healthy and helps to protect against infections. Vitamin C helps heal cuts and wounds and keeps teeth and gums healthy. Vitamin C also aids in iron absorption.
Fruit and veg have less calories and fat than any of the other food groups, and absolutely no cholesterol.
Calorie-wise, you get more bulk from vegetables compared to oil and chicken in this case. This picture illustrates just how much we can eat quantity-wise if we include more fruit and veg in your diet whilst staying within your calorie requirements.
For this reason, this food group is great for aiding weight-loss. A diet high in fruit and veg will be bulky and so you won’t feel deprived of food. On the contrary, you may not be able to eat it all. They are high in fibre and digested slowly by the body, keeping you fuller for longer. They are rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants and provide fibre, which can help reduce your risk of developing CVD and cancer.
Some tips to help you hit your daily target :
- Fruit and veg can be eaten raw or cooked.
- It is best to eat them fresh where possible and they taste best when in-season.
- Frozen and canned fruit and veg count towards your intake.
- Eat a variety of colours and types as they all offer a range of benefits. Variety is the spice of life.
What is a serving?
A serving is equivalent to
- 1 medium sized fruit such as an apple, orange, small banana, pear. If you eat a very large version of these fruits, it could count for up to 2 servings.
- 2 small fruits, such as plums, kiwis etc. These usually fit in the palm of your hand.
- 10-12 berries, grapes or cherries.
- ½ a grapefruit.
- 1 heaped dessertspoon of raisins or sultanas. Dried fruit can be quite high in calories and as the water content is gone you can end up eating A LOT, so be careful.
- A small glass of unsweetened fruit juice or a homemade smoothie made purely of fruit or veg will count as a serving (100ml). It is quite small so measure it out. Be aware that shop bought juice can be higher in calories due to added sugar. It is not recommended to have more than one serving in juice form, as it will not fill you up.
- A smoothie containing all the edible pulped fruit or vegetable may count as more than one of your five a day, but this depends on the quantity of fruits or vegetables or juice used, as well as how the smoothie has been made.
- A bowl of salad. A lot of people think of cheese, coleslaw, pasta salad… this is not what I mean by salad. These are from other food groups under the disguise of salads. Vegetable salads are lettuce, cucumber, tomato, celery, peppers. These are low in fat and calories but be careful of the dressings that you use. Dressings can make a healthy salad a high-fat, high-calorie meal.
- Homemade vegetable soup also counts as a serving. Homemade as you can control what goes into your soup. Shop-bought soups can be high in fat and calories due to added cream etc.
- Six tablespoons of peas, beans or lentils also count as a serving.
We love hearing from you, so be sure to tweet and Facebook us and share your recipe ideas!
So, the question remains… are you up for the challenge?
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