How To Get Your 5 A Day Every Day In An Easy Way

Do you struggle to get your 5 portions of fruit and vegetables per day. It can be easier than you think. Firstly have a look at what you are eating each day. Secondly think how you can make small changes.

Key facts

Fruit and vegetables are key to a healthier lifestyle.

They taste great and add variety to any meal.

Your 5 a day should consist of as many different coloured varities as possible.

Eating a variety of fruit and vegetables will give you plenty of vitamins and minerals.

They are also a good source of fibre and antioxidants.

All these nutrients are good for your health.

Fruit and vegetables are generally low fat, low calorie foods.

so eating them instead of foods high in fat and added salt gets you on your way to keeping healthy and losing weight.

Remember – fresh, frozen, canned, chilled pulses, 100% unsweetened juice and dried fruit and vegetables all count towards your five a day.

Buy fresh fruit and vegetables when they are in season.

This means that they are not only cheaper, but tastier too.

what counts as a portion?

If you are confused as to what counts as a portion, here are some examples.

A portion counts as 80g which is roughly a handful.

1 medium apple

3 celery sticks

3 heaped tablespoons of canned sweetcorn

7 cherry tomatoes

1 handful of carrot sticks

1 medium banana

3 heaped tablespoons of fresh or frozen peas

1/2 an avocado

3 heaped tablespoons of cooked kidney beans

2 broccoli florets

2 medium plums

8 brussels sprouts

1/2 large courgette

1 medium onion

12 chunks of pineapple

3 whole dried apricots

Ideas on how to increase your 5 a day

Have 100% unsweetened fruit juice 150ml with your breakfast

Snack on fruit, dried fruit or vegetable sticks mid morning or afternoon

Add a side salad to your lunch

Have an extra serving of vegetables with your evening meal

Add tinned tomatoes to a homemade casserole

Make homemade soup

Make your own tomato sauce for pasta

Make your own smoothie – just remember they count as a maximum of 2 of your 5 a day

There is lots of ways to get your 5 a day.

Some don’t involve any cooking and are easy to prepare.

Hope you have a good day.

Karen

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What Happens When You Don’t Eat Correctly

Eating is something we do naturally and do every day probably without thinking.

Firstly digestion begins in your mouth.

If you do not chew your food properly or eat too fast it will affect your body’s mechanism which tells you when to stop eating.

This can result in you eating too much and impact on your digestive system.

The extra quantity of food will put stress on the system and the speed you eat creates more problems for your digestive system.

Your taste buds will be overwhelmed and therefore the correct messages won’t be sent to the brain to prepare the right digestive juices to breakdown the particular food.

You might also fine this helpful. How To Stop Feeling So Tired

In conclusion stop and think when you sit down for a meal, don’t rush and chew you food slowly. I know this can be hard if you are busy working from home and sometimes feel that you can’t take a break from work.

Taking a break from your desk will help you to feel better and your body will thank you for it.

Have a good day.

Karen x

Which Foods Can Help With Anxiety?

Anxiety levels can be especially high with the current situation. There is things you can do to help ease these feelings. One quick way that you can start straight away is to look at what you are eating and think about the effects the food can have on your body. When you are feeling worked up or stressed it can be easy to grab something sweet like a chocolate bar. We have all been there including myself. It might help initially, but not in the long run it will only leave you feeling worse. I am not saying never have a chocolate bar if you are feeling worked up as this would be unrealistic, just try not to do it on a regular basis.

There are some foods that can help in supporting the overall health of your nervous system.

Eggs

Eggs are fantastic and a great protein source. They are a low GI food so they can help to keep your blood sugar stable. They are also a good source of choline which is important for memory and learning.

Berries

Blueberries and blackberries are a very rich source of a group of compounds called flavonoids. These have been shown to have great effect on the cardiovascular system and, as such, may have a positive impact upon the brain. Berries cause blood vessels to relax, by stimulating the production of a chemical called nitric oxide by the vital inner skin that lines all of our blood vessels. The nitric oxide then causes the muscular walls of the blood vessels to relax, which makes the vessel wider.

Kale

Kale is one of the greatest leafy vegetables. It is very dense in magnesium, which can have a relaxing effect on the nervous system and the muscles so can really assist in relaxation during a time of high anxiety. Kale also contains iron and vitamin C so there’s an added bonus.

Cocoa

Yes you can eat chocolate!!!!! Well its the cocoa that is good for you especially for the health of your nervous system and for making you feel good. Cocoa is another good source of magnesium that can help you feel relaxed.

Lentils

Lentils are an excellent source of most of the B vitamins, so provide a multitude of benefits for the brain and nervous systems, regulating many of their important functions.

Salmon

Salmon is full of omega-3 fatty acids that support the health and functioning of the myelin sheath. The myelin sheath is involved in the immune system.

Mackerel

Like salmon, mackerel is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and also contains selenium.

Quinoa

Quinoa has a very low impact on your blood sugar and contains a substantial amount of protein. Protein further slows down the release of sugars from its own carbs.

Spinach

Spinach is a good source of magnesium and non-haem iron, both of these minerals are essential for the healthy functioning of the nervous system.

As you can see there are some foods which can have great benefits and can really help your body and how you feel. They are not difficult foods to incorporate in your daily diet. You don’t have to change it all at once, try adding one food each week. Small changes are easier to manage and don’t make you feel overwhelmed.

Karen x

Flatbread Pizzas With Chickpea and Basil Pesto

These Pizzas are easy to make and taste so good!!!

Ingredients

1 clove garlic crushed

Large handful of basil leaves

20g Cashews, roasted for 5 minutes until golden

50g tinned chickpeas

2 tbsp passata

5 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

2 flatbreads

Cherry tomatoes halved

2 tsp dried basil

Feta cheese cubed

Salad to serve

Method

Preheat the oven to 200 / gas 8

Place the garlic, basil, cashews, chickpeas, passata and olive oil into a food processor and blitz to form a rough paste. Season with salt and pepper.

Place the flatbreads on a baking tray.

Divide the pesto between the flatbreads and spread evenly.

Arrange tomatoes and feta cheese on the flatbreads.

Sprinkle with dried basil (optional)

Bake in the oven for 7-9 minutes until the base is crispy and the tomatoes have softened.

Serve with salad of your choice.

If you are short on time you can make the pesto the day before and store in a container in the fridge.

Hope you enjoy.

Karen x

Do You Get Those Annoying Cracks In The Corner Of Your Mouth?

Those annoying Cracks and sores in the corner of your mouth can be a sign that you are deficient in vitamin B2.

Other symptoms of vitamin B2 deficiency can include the following:

Inflamed tongue and lips.

Bloodshot eyes, tired eyes or the feeling of grit under your eyelids.

Scaling skin around the face.

Oily hair or hair loss.

Sluggishness, dizziness and insomnia.

Causes Of Deficiency:

Poor dietary habits.

Alcohol.

Contraceptive pill

Smoking

Main Food Sources Include:

Milk and milk products

Yeast extract

Cheese

Organ meats

Eggs

Legumes

Mushrooms

Watercress

Cabbage

Asparagus

Brewers yeast

So if you are suffering from those annoying sores and cracks in the corner of your mouth or any other symptoms then it could be of benefit for you to take a look at your dietary habits. Do a food diary and see if you are consuming any foods that contain any vitamin B2 and if not look at ways to include them in your diet.

Karen X

The Basics Of Healthy Eating

Smart Nutrition can make all the difference

There is so much nutrition and healthy eating advice around and it can get confusing and overwhelming. I always try to keep it simple. I tend to judge mine off that I must be doing alright as I very rarely get ill, my weight generally stays about the same which I do think gets harder as you get older. I think my skin and hair tell a lot. I have had problems with my hair falling out in the past and that has linked to when I have had things going on in my life oh and the years of straightening which I am currently trying to correct with the curly girl method. Anyone with naturally curly hair will feel my pain!! When you turn 40 you get the lovely little letter in the post asking you to go for a health check. I must admit I did feel a bit nervous about this as it was kind of a way of proving if what I say and practice works. I passed with flying colours and don’t have to have another until I am 45 so a bit to go yet.

Drink Lots Of Water

Anyway back to the basics of healthy eating. One of the things I go on and on about is drinking water. This is the easiest and cheapest change you can make. I don’t drink bottled water so just turn on the tap. Dehydration will impact your performance in your daily life and if you work out in the gym – research indicates that 5% dehydration can lead to 30% drop in function. This can also affect the way your body stores fat and repairs muscles. Water benefits your body so much, I will go into that more another time so moving on.

Eat Your Greens

Try to include some colourful vegetables in every meal. There is no such thing as too many vegetables. They are packed with vitamins, phytochemicals and fibre and will fill you up without sending your calories soaring. Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, kale, cabbage and cauliflower are ideal, although dark green leafy vegetables like spinach are also excellent. Regardless of what else you are eating your plate should be about half full of vegetables at every meal. If you have a child that isn’t keen on vegetables hide them in sauces by blending them. Its amazing what you can get away with by hiding them in a tomato based sauce. Mash a bit of swede in with your potatoes. Fruit is also excellent for you, just be aware of the sugar content (fructose) I would try to limit to two or three pieces a day.

Pack The Protein

Protein is one of the most important components of the diet – it’s crucial to building muscle, keeps you feeling full, helps repair tissue and the immune system. It also provides energy. Aim to eat a wide variety of protein foods to get the full range of muscle-building amino acids – lean meat, fish, eggs and dairy produce are excellent sources of protein. Protein can also be found in nuts, seeds and beans. Include a fist-sized amount of protein at every meal.

Include Energy Fuelled Carbohydrates

This is always quite a hot topic as many people who are trying to lose weight want to massively reduce their carbohydrate intake. It is your choice, but I personally really like my carbs and its all about which carbohydrates you consume. Carbohydrates form the foundation of a healthy diet, providing a readily available source of energy. Carbohydrates are broken down by our bodies into glucose for energy and they come in two forms – complex carbohydrates which are known as the slow releasing form. Foods containing these are whole grains, vegetables and fresh fruit. These slow down the release of the sugar/glucose into the blood stream. Simple carbohydrates known as the fast releasing ones are found in sweets, biscuits, cakes and refined flour, white pasta. So it is about choosing the right ones and I am not saying never eat cake again as I couldn’t do that, its about moderation.

Don’t Avoid Fats

Although it might seem contradictory to eat fat when you are trying to lose fat, dietary fats are by no means bad. The ones to avoid or reduce are trans fats, aim to keep your saturated fat intake low. This means being aware of how many cakes, biscuits, red meats and cheese you have. The fats you need are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated, found in olive oil, nuts, seeds and oily fish. These include omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which have been proven to aid strength and aerobic training, protect the body from injuries and help it recover from wear and tear.

Stay Natural

This is the simplest rule when deciding what to eat, keep it natural. Processed foods – biscuits, cakes, ready meals, fizzy drinks, crisps are mostly high in calories, but low in essential nutrients, so they are poor at refuelling, but good at increasing your weight and zapping your energy. Try to avoid foods containing preservatives and things you can not spell is an easy way at looking at it or things that you wouldn’t keep in your kitchen. Eat things that will rot eventually, so you know they are fresh. As a general rule, if it grows in the ground or used to have a face its fine. If it comes in a packet be wary. Don’t beat yourself up if have an odd ready meal I am realistic and understand how busy some people are. This is when preparation works well.

To Conclude

As you can see it isn’t difficult I don’t count calories, but I am aware I do need to burn off what goes in and if more goes in than what I burn off then my weight will go up. I try not to eat late and I do try to do some form of exercise each day and some days this can be just 10 minutes hula hooping or 15 minutes of yoga. Every little bit counts. I am not into gyms and never have been, but some people going to a gym gives them focus and motivation it’s whatever works for you.

Karen x