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10 a day! That’s the recommendation from a study carried out in February, which advised that eating 10 portions of fruit and veg a day could dramatically decrease the chance of disease.
Unfortunately, many of us find it a struggle to eat even the previously recommended 5-a-day. If we want to eat more fruit and veg, we need to change the way we approach food. However, the benefits of lowering our risk of cancer, heart disease, diabetes and a host of other painful and debilitating conditions is well worth the effort!
We need to make vegetables the star of our meals, rather than a neglected side. Meat needs to become a tasty treat, and not the main event of every meal.
Looking for some advice on how to hit your 10 portions of fruit and veg? Here I list out some of the easiest meals that will let you stack up the servings.
Breakfast ideas to eat 10 portions of fruit and veg a day
Starting your day off with a healthy breakfast packed with fruit and vegetables does two things. Firstly, it gets you into the running – it’s hard to eat 10 portions of fruit and veg a day if you don’t include at least a couple of portions at breakfast. Secondly, it encourages you to eat healthy food for the rest of the day.
Green smoothies have made a name for themselves, and they are a fab way of getting in a dose of fruit and greens early in the day. They don’t have to be green, however! Frozen cauliflower is actually an excellent smoothie base. Give it a try!
Here are five smoothie recipes to start you off, but the combinations are limitless.
- Avocado, grape, banana and cilantro green smoothie
- Beginners Luck Green Smoothie
- Peanut Butter Cauliflower Smoothie
- Healing Cranberry Cleanser (because Cranberries are seasonal right now!)
- Snickerdoodle Green Smoothie
Smoothies are great, but they can be a little less than satisfying if you have a busy day. Breakfast bowls are a bit more filling, and can still pack a lot of vegetables in.
- Martha Stewart’s Savoury Breakfast Bowl
- Chickpea Scramble Breakfast Bowl with Roasted Spring Vegetables
- Sweet Potato Breakfast Bowl with Savoury Granola
- Pesto Cauliflower Rice Breakfast Bowl
- 5-minute Savoury Breakfast Quinoa
Bonus! Enjoy a bowl and a smoothie for breakfast. You’ll be dancing around the kitchen with all that good plant matter inside you.
Eggs ‘n’ veg
Pretty much all forms of egg based breakfast can be turned into a vehicle for vegetable matter. Omelettes, scrambled eggs, poached eggs over spinach… there are lots of options.
- Veggie scramble
- Veggie omelette
- Poached egg with spinach and tomato
- Fresh vegetable frittata (make ahead and eat for breakfast all week)
- Baked eggs with roasted Mediterranean vegetables
In the mood for something a bit different? Explore some of these delicious breakfasts from around the world – all of which come with a helping of vegetables.
- Vegetarian Full English Breakfast
- Mexican Huevos Rancheros
- Ful Mudammas (Egyptian Breakfast Beans)
- Japanese Breakfast (Miso soup, fish, rice and kobachi)
- Congee (Chinese Rice Porridge)
That’s twenty breakfast recipes to help you start your day with fruit and vegetables!
The ‘I don’t have time for breakfast’ breakfast
But sometimes you just don’t have time. I get it. You’re running out the door, meal prep didn’t happen, you’re behind and you’ve got nothing.
- Eat a piece of fruit (just grab a banana or an apple)
- Eat a snack bar e.g. a Kind Bar,* a LaraBar,* or my personal favourite Plant for Peace Fruit Bars (available at supermarkets in the UK).
- Keep some trailmix* on hand
- Eat a yoghurt
Okay, some of these do not help you meet your 10-a-day target. But they will help prevent you from getting hangry, giving up on the day, and hitting up the nearest salt-and-grease fast food option near you.
Lunch ideas to eat 10 portions of fruit and veg a day
I’ll cover all lunch options here. Leisurely lunches when you’re at home and have access to your kitchen. Lunch box ideas that assume you have access to a fridge and microwave. And lunch ideas for when you’re on the road all day and have nothing but tupperware. But all these lunch ideas will help you hit your 10 portions of fruit and veg a day.
Leisurely lunch ideas
For those days when you’ve got a bit of time, and you want to sit down and enjoy a good lunch whilst maybe reading a book or sitting in the garden.
- Golden Beet and Barley Salad with Rainbow Chard (leftovers keep for up to week, so can work for your lunch box too!)
- Roasted roots & halloumi traybake with courgette tangles
- Chickpea Miso Vegetable Stew
- Falafel And Tabouli Bowls With Tahini Dressing
- Red Quinoa with Spinach, Cherry Tomatoes, and Poached Eggs
Mason Jar Salads (Lunch Box alternative)
Salads in a mason jar or in a kilner jar work really well for lunch boxes. The layered approach helps separate wet ingredients from dry, keeping your salad fresh and crisp.
- Mason Jar Carrot Noodle Salad w/Sweet Chilli Vinaigrette
- 5 Mason Jar Salads to prep for a week of lunches
- Thai Green Salad with Shrimp and Spicy Almond Dressing
- Greek Salad in a Mason Jar
- Mason Jar Pasta Salad
You can also make any of these salads the old fashioned way, by putting them into a tupperware and keeping the dressing separate.
On the road lunches
If you’re frequently on the go without recourse to a microwave, it’s well worth investing in a soup thermos*. A soup thermos allows you to take a hearty vegetable soup or stew with you. That plus a chunk of bread and a piece of fruit will definitely keep you going.
However, if you haven’t yet made the jump to a thermos, any of these lunch box friendly ideas will work for you.
- Tangy Veggie Wrap
- Green Goddess Club Sandwich
- Tri-coloured Pasta Salad
- Butter bean and tuna salad
- Raw beet salad
The ‘I didn’t pack a lunch’ lunch
I know. Most of these lunches require you to have thought ahead, even if it’s just to have put your salad or sandwich together. However, there are a few tricks to help you eat a veggie-filled lunch on the go without resorting to a limp ham sandwich from a corner shop.
- A bag of pre-mixed salad and a tin of mackerel. This is so easy. If you get the tinned mackerel that comes packed in olive oil, all you have to do is empty the tin into the bag of salad, shake it up, and then eat it. (It does require a fork)
- Leftovers. Okay, leftovers require you to have leftovers. Make it a habit to scoop a cup or two of your dinner out before you serve and stick it in the fridge in a tupperware.
- See if you can find a salad or sushi bar. Many supermarkets in the USA offer a salad bar, and some supermarkets in the UK are slowly following suit. Some cafés also provide ‘three or five salad’ options from a salad bar.
- Veggie sticks and dip (you can pick up pre-chopped veg at most supermarkets, and a tub of hummus)
Dinner ideas to eat 10 portions of fruit and veg a day
Ahh, dinner. The best way to ensure you’re never stuck trying to put together a last-minute dinner from a piece of cheese and a bag of oats is to plan your meals.
However, even I sometimes fail to plan – or end up ditching the plan because something came up. Here I outline some of the best veg filled dinner options for your meal plan, and ideas for meals that you can just keep as a back-up option for nights when nothing goes to plan.
Vegetable-focused dinners to add to your meal plan
All of these vegetable-focused dinners include at least 4 of your 10-a-day… helping you to rack up your vegetable portions in one tasty meal.
- Smoky veggie chilli
- Minty roast veg & houmous salad
- Seven-veg tagine
- Healthy vegetable stir-fry
- Farro & Roasted Vegetables with Italian Salsa Verde
Vegetable-focused dinners to have ‘just in case’
Keep a bag of frozen vegetables for those days when you forgot to plan ahead and your fresh produce is lacking. By keeping a few staples like tinned tomatoes on hand you’ll be able to whip up these healthy dinner options any time.
- Frozen vegetable stir-fry
- Veggie burger* + salad or frozen veg on the side
- Easy vegetable soup
- Cheesy vegetable casserole
- Pasta with pesto and frozen veggies
Dessert ideas to eat 10 portions of fruit and veg a day
And then of course there is dessert. Now, if you’ve successfully consumed all of your 10-a-day already, by all means indulge yourself with that chocolate brownie or slice of cheesecake. But if you’re looking for a delicious way to sneak in an extra portion of fruit or veg, these dessert recipes have got you covered.
- Secret ingredient frozen hot chocolate (Seriously, this is delicious)
- The Ultimate Carrot Cake Makeover (Uses orange, carrot and raisins)
- Poached pears (Oh god, poached pears are sublime)
- Honey-rum grilled bananas
- Clean classic apple pie (I don’t normally like ‘clean’ recipes, but this is just a wholesome apple pie)
- Chocolate eggplant torte (Uses eggplant/aubergine and banana)
- Strawberry, rhubarb and lime popsicles
Yikes. That is a LOT of healthy, tasty and produce-packed recipes. They should definitely keep you going 🙂
However, I also want to do a quick plug for Real Food Meal Plans*. The easiest way to ensure you’re eating well is to plan your food. But that is hard, and sometimes you don’t have time. Real Food Meal Plans does that planning for you, and unlike other meal planning services, they focus on real food made from real ingredients. I find it really useful and if you’ve struggled with your meal planning in the past I encourage you to give it a try!