The importance of 5 a day (No, not pints!)

Now despite a lovely, relatively new member providing us with some rather delicious lemon drizzle cake recently, we can’t count that either. But thank you on behalf of the UR team for the delicacy.

So how are we all with our 5 A Day as part of a healthy balanced diet? I, just as much as you all do my best, but, despite what I do for a living, I’m only human and yes, guilty of slipping and not sticking to it as much as I should. However, I often snack on carrots and tomatoes as I pass the fridge.

So lets discuss the importance of our 5 A Day, and not the chocolate bar that happened to fall out of the fridge as I opened the door and made my way to the tomatoes.

We hear from the NHS and our wonderful Government constantly via all forms of media these days promoting the importance of 5 A Day (I do wonder just how many MP’s, whilst fine dining are good at this. But lets not get political).

So, Why 5 A Day?

Firstly, almost all fruit and vegetables count as part of this. They’re a good source of vitamins and minerals (inc vitamin c, potassium and folate). Whats Folate?IMG_3646

Folate, is a form of vitamin B which is vitally important for healthy cell growth and the formation of our DNA.

Secondly, an excellent source of dietary fibre, which helps to maintain a healthy gut & prevent constipation. This dietary fibre can also reduce the risk of bowel cancer.

Thirdly, we all want a healthy heart and this healthy diet will go some way to reducing the risk of heart disease or stroke.

And, of course with the variety on offer these days, they taste great too.

So at a glance, what counts?

According to recent information published by the NHS:

80g of fresh, canned or frozen fruit and vegetables

30g of dried fruit

80g of beans or pulses

Fruit and veg cooked in dishes such as soups and stews are great as they maintain their nutritional value in the meal.

Potatoes, however tasty they may be are not counted as part of your 5 a day. They are a starchy food and this a complex carbohydrate which comprises of many glucose molecules. If your body does not need all of the glucose from the starches, the excess is stored as glycogen in your liver and muscles and the remainder is stored as fat all around your body.

So, moving onto our future in younger hands. What about our children.

We’re quite lucky in the Laybourn household. The Chuckle Brothers will happily munch on cucumber, carrots and melons of different varieties regularly. Make no mistake of course, they’re kids and will certainly tuck into a packet of crisps!

Making children meals as interesting as possible will help them gain the fruit and veg each day. We send our boys into school with packed lunch each day and their school is IMG_3350very good at promoting a healthy balanced lunch to be taken in whilst also being very aware of possible food allergies. So, despite the favourite choccy bar packed into the lunchbox, our boys always take of pot of chopped cucumber,carrots and a satsuma. The pots always come back home empty (I don’t think they’ve worked out the art of the throw-away technique yet)

This, as I’m very much aware makes our boys sound like “Perfect children” but of course they are not, whose are?!! They munch on all sorts of course but we’re certainly very happy that our job is a wee bit easier in the knowledge that fruit is a winner!!

A banana in the evening, for example, is a good way to help calm stress hormones and promote a good nights sleep.  Something that we all (not just the kids) need.

Keep getting the children involved in preparing the fruit and veg they’d be interested in eating. Disguising it into meals works but don’t become reliant upon this as it it important that they realise the variety of fruit and veg can taste great on their own too.

So, keep munching on all those colourful fruit and veggies on offer………….

……… then you can go and have a pint, only 1, for now!! ;o)

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