Our survey this week shows that 45% of children consume the "Five a Day" recommended by the government. A further 26% come close with either three or four portions whilst the remaining 29% eat two or less portions each day.
The reason for the suggestion to eat "Five a Day" is simply to keep us fit and well. When you are young and healthy it is all to easy to neglect this simple advice but we don't want you regretting it as you get older so let's take a look at a few facts about diet.
Let's sort this out straight away – potatoes DO NOT count as part of your five-a-day, so don't go thinking you can eat five portions of chips each day and then forget about everything else!
Potatoes eaten in moderation are good for you because they contain fibre, vitamins and potassium but when they are made into chips and crisps they contain fats and they're not good. Too much fat, as you might expect, makes you put on weight and that is really bad. Ideally, eat potatoes without adding salt and make sure you eat the skin as well because vitamins and fibre are tightly packed into the skins.
Look, we all enjoy chips and crisps but let's keep their consumption within reasonable bounds – yes?
Tinned and frozen vegetables count towards your five-a-day so ones included in pasta, soups and stews are all good for you albeit it is often difficult to calculate just how many you are eating – no, 5 small carrots in a stew doesn't mean you're done for the day!
Dried fruits like currants, raisins and sultanas are particularly good for you because the water has been extracted, leaving only the "goodness" behind.
If possible choose tinned fruit in natural juice and not the makes that have added sugar or are labelled as "….. in syrup".
Fruit juice and smoothies have a small part to play in making up your five-a-day but keep it in moderation because too many can ruin your teeth.
We've lectured you enough for one day so we'll keep this short and sweet… If you eat plenty of fruit and veg then you are much less likely to suffer from heart problems, cancers and diabetes. If you eat too many chocolates, chips and crisps (the dreaded 3 C's) then you'll become obese. Done!
I have learned that my taste buds get accustomed to certain types of food and drink and then they manage to send a constant stream of messages to my brain to tell it what I will enjoy eating and drinking. I guess it is the same for each human body. Here's the thing though, you can CHANGE what you enjoy…
I spent many years drinking only full-fat Coca Cola - I was so addicted to it that I could distinguish different tastes in different parts of the country, depending on the water that was used in its manufacture! I hated the taste of Coke Zero but, being conscious of the fact that I was putting on weight, I converted to Zero. Lo and behold after a month, I loved it and hated the taste of regular Coke.
I got to thinking that maybe I could go a step further and convert to bottled water that I knew would be much better for my health in the long run. I decided to drink only bottled water for a month. Would you believe, at the end of the month I loved bottled water.
The moral of the story is this: it is possible to change what you like from something that is bad for you to something that is good for you. I challenge you to try it for yourself!
Here are the results from 6,520 children who answered our question "How much fruit and vegetables do you eat in a day?" The survey was conducted in the week ending May 3rd, 2020.
|Answer||Percentage of Respondents|