Yesterday’s total: 5 portions, again not great against the 10 but smashed it for five. I’ll do a couple more days without trying for 10 and seeing how I do, then I’m really going to go for it.
We are now aware that you need 80g of fruit or vegetables for it to be “a portion” (see previous blog if you want more info) but as I’ve been eating this week I’ve come across a lot of that have made me think “does this count?” and I’ve had a few surprises.
From the NHS website “Nearly all fruit and veg, whether it’s fresh, dried, frozen, tinned or canned counts towards your 5 A DAY. Just remember to keep dried fruit to mealtimes only. Beans and pulses count too. These are things like lentils and kidney beans, and they count as one portion, no matter how much you eat.”
The one thing that you might think counts but doesn’t, POTATOES! So chips are not 1 of your ten! Potatoes are vegetables from an ‘agricultural’ point of view, but in terms of food they tend to be classified with other carbohydrates (bread, pasta, rice, potatoes), and contribute to that part of the diet rather than your vegetable quota. Other vegetables that won’t count are yams, cassava and plantain. They are also usually eaten as starchy foods. Sweet potatoes, parsnips, swedes and turnips do count towards your 10 A DAY, because they are usually eaten in addition to the starchy food part of the meal.
Surprising things that will count.
Tomato puree: full of vitamin C and super concentrated so you only need a tablespoon. Watch out for salt and sugar levels though. Ketchup does not count!
Baked beans: a yummy pulse in a tomato based sauce, will only count as one but watch the sugar levels. Spaghetti hoops also count due to the sauce!
Olives: So you do need to have about 30 for it to be a portion and that isn’t the best due to high salt levels. A few chucked into a salad will definitely add towards a portion though!
Onions: there is no reason these shouldn’t count, but when I count they don’t pop straight into my head!
Mushrooms: We all know my feelings on these things (devils eyeballs) but I only stop the people in my house eating them, you guys are more than welcome to go crazy on these things to add to your daily quota.
Fresh herbs? I still have a question mark over this, though I’ve had a good hunt to find out. There are loads of nutritional benefits to fresh herbs and people have been using herbs in medicine since forever! But I’m not sure how often you would actually eat an 80g serving of them. I think I’ll stick to not counting them but will continue to put them in everything, and who knows, they might add up to a few extra secret portions here and there!
The more variety you get the better, and the more colours the better!