High Five: 5 easy ways to get your five-a-day this term

By Emma Taylor

You’re back in Durham for the new term and everything’s rushing at you at once – friends to catch up with, new stationery to buy, remembering to do laundry and (whisper it) the small matter of exams. It’s hectic, and often when running into the supermarket for food, it’s easiest to bulk buy pasta and pesto. Which is fine – we’ve all been there, and pesto pasta is a staple. However, as the days grow longer and you spend long nights studying at the Bill Bryson, you want to keep healthy.

A great way to look after yourself is simply eating more fruit and vegetables. We all know we’re meant to eat five portions of fruit and vegetables a day, but how often do you actually achieve this? If not, you’re not alone – with many students living off the aforementioned pesto pasta and 101 ways with toast, it can seem too daunting to introduce five fruits and vegetables a day.

So here are some easy, cheap ways to get you started:

  1. Juice counts as one portion! As do smoothies – one of the easiest ways to get your five a day is drinking a glass of orange juice in the morning with your cornflakes. Tick one thing off on your to-do list before you even reach the library.
  2. Add vegetables to your pasta sauce to sneak in a portion without even noticing. Grate a carrot into your tomato sauce and cook it, or mash cooked peas into your pesto. Kidney beans also count as one portion and go really well in chillis. You can bulk make chilli and freeze the extra portions for easy meals after a long day working.
  3. Make it simple and add it into your daily routine. Eat an apple on the way to the library, for example, or a banana. Popping an apple into your bag is so easy, and will keep the hunger pangs at bay.
  4. Preparation is key. You’ve heard this in lectures when talking about getting organised with your reading, but try applying it to your cooking, too. If you’re chopping a carrot, chop a load at once and freeze them in portions so if you’re short on time, at least you won’t also be short on your vitamins.
  5. Don’t be put off by complicated and expensive superfoods. If you are into goji berries then great, and go for it! Kale is cool, but a portion of frozen peas counts just as much as one of your portions, as does a simple apple or grapes. Don’t make it complicated – frozen or tinned fruit and vegetables all count.

Good luck!

Photograph: Emma Taylor

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