How to Eat Your 7 A Day

Now that  we are being advised to eat 7 portions of fruit & vegetables per day, we are more in line with many other countries around the world.  In Canada it is between 7 and 10 portions per day, whilst America’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends between 5 and 13 portions per day, depending who we are and how much exercise we do.  Australia are more specific with regards to the balance, recommending 2 portions of fruit and 5 portions of vegetables per day.  So, it sees as though 7 a day is a minimum rather than a maximum target! However don’t take anyone else’s word for it – use the online food diary Nourish free for 7 days from your mobile, tablet, laptop or desktop and see how many portions you need per day to make you feel healthier & happier.

What is a portion?

The rough guide is that one portion is about the size of the palm of your hand.  So, if you are a large adult your palm and therefore a portion is larger than a portion for a young child.

How can we eat so many fruit and vegetables?

A good general principle is to have half your plate vegetables at every meal:

Soul Nutrition Food Plate

Soul Nutrition Food Plate

You can download this image as a free pdf by clicking here: Soul Nutrition Food Plate

Here are some practical examples of how

you can achieve your 7 a day:

At least 2 portions at breakfast:

1-3 portions mid morning:

2-4 portions at lunchtime:

  • Any kind of vegetarian dish based on beans, pulses, lentils or chickpeas with lots of vegetables in it too
  • Vegetable and bean based soup
  • Any type of mixed salad for lunch. Don’t forget to add some protein such as beans, pulses, lentils, cottage cheese, chicken, turkey or fish to give yourself a balanced meal
  • A wholegrain sandwich with at least two types of salad vegetable in it as well as some protein.

Stir fry vegetables with pine nuts1 -3 portions mid – late afternoon:

  • Carrot, celery or sweet peppers with hummus, guacamole, tzatziki, bean or aubergine dip
  • A palmful of olives or marinated vegetables (deli shops or deli sections of supermarkets have a good selection)

Evening meal: lots of opportunities for more portions!

1 – 3 portions as dessert / late night snack:

  • Fruit ice lolliesBerries or chopped fruit mixed into natural yoghurt
  • Pre-soaked dried fruits with linseeds and nuts (fantastic for easing constipation!)
  • Homemade fruit ice lolly
  • Banana with milk or kefir – both bananas and milk are high in tryptophan which converts to serotonin, the neurotransmitter that keeps us happy, and also converts on to melatonin to support relaxed sleep 🙂

For more information about foods to support Happiness, check out Edible Building Blocks of Happiness

Looking for some vegetable based recipe books?

These are some of my favourites:

Super Salads by Michael Van Straten

The Functional Nutrition Cookbook: Addressing Biochemical Imbalances Through Diet

River Cottage Veg Every Day! (River Cottage Every Day)

Rose Elliot’s New Complete Vegetarian

Delia’s Vegetarian Collection


One Response

  1. Kate Coupe says:

    Hi Looks interesting!
    Kate Coupe

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