We all know that it’s important to get our five portions of fruit and vegetables a day. It’s something any Irish mother hammers into their child from an early age. Yet when you’re a skint student with little time for cooking meals, this ideal quickly goes out the window.
However, it doesn’t have to be expensive or time consuming to get your 5 a day! Here are some simple tips to help you get your greens!
These drinks are not only cheap and delicious, they are also very easy to make! Just throw a few slices of your favourite fruits into a blender, add in a little honey or maybe some yoghurt, and press the button! It makes for a great breakfast on the go, and is far healthier and cheaper than shop bought smoothies, which often contain a pile of sugar and preservatives.
Add them to your lunch.
Next time you’re ordering a hot chicken roll, why not pay an extra few cent for a handful of lettuce or perhaps tomatoes or fresh onions. It may seem like an insignificant addition, but every little helps when you’re targeting that elusive five a day!
This is a great way of getting a variety of vegetables in one meal. If you make a hearty soup such as traditional vegetable soup then it may even be possible to consume more than one serving of your 5 a day from just one bowl. You could also make a huge pot of soup and freeze it to eat later, which is ideal now that we’re into the harsh cold winter months and Christmas exams may not leave as much time for food preparation.
Frozen fruit and vegetables are a great option for busy students. They often come already prepared, such as a frozen vegetable stir fry mix, and you can cook them straight from frozen. Not only will this method save you time, but it will also save your food because you don’t need to worry about the vegetables going off date once they’re frozen. Freezing fruit and vegetables can also preserve their naturally present nutrients, so may even be healthier than fresh shop bought items. Buying frozen can also give you a wider choice of your 5 a day, as the frozen items are available year round, and aren’t affected by whether your favourites are in season.
One simple way of increasing your intake of your 5 a day is to add a handful of fruit to your breakfast. Why not throw in some berries with your morning porridge, or perhaps add a chopped banana to your Weetabix. If you want to go all out, make pancakes and add as much fruit as you like, and perhaps spread on some natural yoghurt.
Fruit and vegetables, of course, don’t always have to be added to other foods in order to be tasty. They are a stand out dish all on their own. As a healthier option, instead of reaching for crisps or chocolate, why not snack on a delicious homemade fruit salad, or just munch on a banana, which will keep you satisfied for longer. Vegetables are also a great snacking food, for example carrot sticks are delicious with dips such as salsa or sweet chilli as a healthy alternative to Doritos. Why not go for a whole selection of chopped vegetables, such as celery, and make crudités?
Vegetables can also elevate your dinner by throwing them into sauces. Add some diced carrot or mushroom and onions even to a shop bought jar of Bolognese sauce. Add an apple or mushrooms to a curry sauce. The options are limitless, and they all add texture, colour and flavour to your food, as well as those much needed nutrients. Sweet and sour sauce is a great dish that combines a variety of both fruit and vegetables.