8 simple tips to get more fruits and vegetables into your diet

InVite Health

This Dietitian Answers 8 of Our Most Frequently Asked Healthy-Eating Questions

Forget fad diets

8 simple tips this nutritionist swears by
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Diet books, podcasts and social media accounts might have you believe that being healthy is hard work. You need to eat the latest superfood, take expensive probiotic shots and drink warm water with lemon every single morning. But the key to a healthy, balanced diet doesn’t have to be complicated.

We spoke to specialist registered dietitian Nichola Ludlam-Raine to find out how simple everyday tweaks can improve our eating habits. So if you’ve been leaning on comfort food during lockdown, here are her expert tips for how to get back on track.


1. How can we ‘healthify’ our kitchen?

‘healthify’ your kitchen
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‘Make the healthy choice the easy choice. Always have your fruit bowl stacked in the kitchen; have a blender in view, not the biscuit tin; rearrange your cereals so that the healthy ones are at the front; and keep a portion scoop in your rice, pasta and your oats.

‘Because of the demands of everyday life, healthy eating needs to require minimal effort. If you open the fridge and see a whole bag of carrots that requires cutting and peeling, it’s easier to just reach for the biscuits. But if at eye level you’ve got your crudités and dips, chopped-up fruit salad and yoghurt, you’re more likely to eat them.’


2. Do you use a formula when you’re cooking to make sure you tick off all the food groups?

‘I live by the 80:20 rule, where I eat 80% healthy, nutrient-dense foods, then eat foods purely for enjoyment for 20% of the time. Having a couple of biscuits with your coffee isn’t bad; however, if you’re having a packet of biscuits in the afternoon because you’ve skipped lunch, that’s not going to make you feel good in the long term. So focus on keeping yourself hydrated, eating more plant-based foods and balanced meals, and nourishing yourself. Then the odd treat is fine to enjoy every now and again but just keep mindful of portions and frequency.’


3. Is it important to buy organic produce?

‘If you can afford to buy organic, that’s great, but really all that matters is that you’ve got fruit and vegetables in your shopping basket. You can save some money on basics like pasta and rice (try to go wholegrain as it has a low GI, so releases energy slowly), and by buying own-brand tins of pulses or chopped tomatoes. Then you’ll be more likely to spend that extra money on leaner cuts of meat and a wider variety of fruits and veg.’


4. We all know we’re supposed to eat our 5-a-day – what tips do you have to incorporate more fruit and veg into our daily diets?

keep a stash of frozen veg
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‘Keep a stash of frozen veg. Frozen fruit and veg often contain more nutrients, including vitamin C, than when they’re fresh. That’s because they’re frozen at the peak of picking – as they get older, they start to lose their nutrients. So always keep some in the freezer.’


5. How much water should we really be drinking?

‘The NHS advises drinking a minimum of six to eight glasses of fluid every day – and tea and coffee counts. From a caffeine point of view, just keep it to four to five cups a day, and try and drink them before 3pm, or it might affect your sleep.

‘If you exercise, or if it’s warm outside, you need to drink more fluids because you’ll sweat. The easiest way to tell if you’re drinking enough is if you’re going to the toilet a few times a day and it’s a pale straw colour.’


6. What’s a simple trick for cutting down on sugar?

cut down on sugary snacks
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‘If you find yourself munching on packs of sweets every evening, you could swap them for frozen grapes. Rinse grapes in water, sprinkle on sugar-free jelly crystals, then freeze them – it’s just like eating hard-boiled sweets.

‘It’s also about portion control. For example, one of my patients portions out her chocolate into a ramekin, so she knows her allowance. Another tip is to never eat straight out of a family sharing bag – always put it out in a bowl. And if you find yourself mindlessly eating chocolates or sweets at home or in the office, try to keep the wrappers next to you so you can keep an eye on how many you’ve eaten.’


7. Can the way we present our food help us to make healthier choices?

‘We eat with our eyes. If food is presented in a way that makes it look good, you’re more likely to eat more of it. You don’t need to make every meal Instagrammable, but spending a little time prepping veggies so they’re more enticing to eat definitely helps. Chewing your food really matters too – if you take your time eating rather than just wolfing it down, you’ll really appreciate it. It also means that you’ll be better in tune with your hunger and satiety levels.’


8. What about supplements?

Centrum Women
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‘I take a multivitamin every day, so I know I have some additional nutritional support if I haven’t managed to eat enough fruit and vegetables. It’s not a replacement for a balanced diet, but it offers support.

‘I recommend that people take a multivitamin with vitamin D. This is especially important if you don't get enough through your diet (oily fish, eggs and fortified foods) and in the winter months because the sun is not strong enough for your body to make vitamin D.

Centrum Women and Centrum Women 50+ come from the world’s No 1 brand of multivitamin* and include essential vitamins and minerals, such as biotin, zinc and selenium. These supplements are also high in vitamin D.’


Try Centrum Women today. Find out more at centrum.co.uk

*Based on worldwide value sales of the Centrum range. For verification please contact customer.relations@gsk.com

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