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The Fruit and Veg Experiment

February 22, 2011

Ouch … I am really suffering from muscle soreness today! I haven’t done a workout that kicked my ass as much as the yoga class yesterday for quite a while. It must be doing me good Smile

Yesterday, while I was bored at work, I was surfing the net (shhh … don’t tell anyone!) and started looking at some sites about how many portions of fruit and veg we should be eating each day. I realised that I don’t consciously think about how many I eat each day and I’m not even sure what constitutes one portion.

I LOVE eating fruit and veg and the reason I don’t have to think about it is because eating it is such a pleasure for me. I’ve always eaten loads of fruit and veg, even when my other eating habits weren’t so good. My university yearbook even mentioned my apple eating habits (even though I was also scoffing vast amounts of puddings, chocolate and alcohol). I do think about getting variety, as I do with every part of my diet. I try to eat a rainbow of fruit and veg to get the best possible balance of vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants.

So, as an experiment I decided to count the number of portions I ate today. I tried to make it an average day and I counted using the portion sizes on the official NHS website. NHS guidelines (based on World Health Organisation guidelines) suggest that every adult should eat five portions of fruit and veg every day, whereas the average British citizen eats less than three. There seems to be quite a bit of debate about how many portions are ideal, but five a day is seen as the minimum.

Starting with breakfast, I had this banana in my porridge:



Mid-morning I had a pink lady apple along with a few mixed nuts:



For lunch I revisited a childhood classic that I haven’t had for many years – egg and rice. I cooked up some brown rice, mixed it in with some peas and tinned sweetcorn and a chopped egg. This made me very very happy!


= 1 PORTIONS (one portion is three heaped tablespoons of peas or sweetcorn. I had roughly one and a half tablespoons of each, so I’m counting that as a total of one portion)

Mid-afternoon I stirred 4 chopped apricots into a small pot of 0% Total yoghurt:



When I got home from work I was starving, so I had an orange to keep me going:



Before I went for a swim I had a bowl of cantaloupe melon, along with a slice of wholemeal toast topped with some yoghurt:


= 1 PORTION (this equates to one slice)

I made a salad for dinner with spinach, cucumber and orange segments. I topped it with some warm chickpeas which I cooked in a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar for five minutes:



I didn’t realise that beans and pulses count as a portion. Apparently one portion is three heaped tablespoons, although no matter how much more you have it is still only one portion.

So, my grand total for the day is:


Interesting – I had no idea I ate so much! My aim now is to try as many different types of fruit and veg as I can and to include them in some interesting recipes Smile

7 Comments leave one →
  1. February 22, 2011 10:44 pm

    That’s a great idea! I need to work on eating more fruits and veggies, too.

  2. February 22, 2011 10:44 pm

    rice, peas, corn & egg …. a personal favourite of mine 🙂 ….. you have beautiful hands by the way.
    Oh and if you try a Sharron fruit (I think its called), I’ll be interested to know what your thoughts are on that one.

    • February 23, 2011 6:39 am

      I tried sharon fruit when I was in China and liked it. Fruit tended to taste much better there though. I’ve not had one in the UK, but have seen them, so will try and pick one up soon 🙂

  3. February 22, 2011 10:47 pm

    Good idea. Although in this country the amount recommended is 5 per day, in other countries it is much higher, but I think I read that when they set the guidelines, 8 portions per day would seem like too much to the average person, who would be put off and then not try at all, whereas 5 is attainable by most. I like to have an idea too- today I had; pear, beetroot, cherries, satsumas, courgette, peppers, raisins, but I often have more (no pulses for me today which is unusual). You are right about variety too 🙂

  4. February 23, 2011 8:13 am

    I adore fruit and veggies and I’m usually in the 10 portions a day or more easily, I think getting a good variety in there is important too, although I often end up eating more than one apple! Yesterday I had kale, cherries, leeks, white beans, plums, mushroom, beetroot, cabbage, swede, spring greens, apples, yum!

  5. February 23, 2011 9:56 am

    Unfortunately I have the opposite problem in that I have to monitor my fruit and veggie intake to make sure it doesn’t get out of hand due to IBS. I thought I was being really uber-healthy back in September when I was getting through about 10+ portions a day buy sadly the fibre overdose for me meant that I wasn’t absorbing a lot of the nutrients I was consuming, which showed up in blood tests.

    I wish I had a stomach of steel and could eat an entire plate full of kale half the time! And I can go through an entire 4-pack of nectarines or plums easily. They’re so good at the moment!

    I don’t think there really is an upper limit: just what your body handles best.


  6. February 23, 2011 9:27 pm

    Yaay to yoga working for you!!

    And I loved this post. You are so right that once you’re eating a decent *amount* of fruit and veg, it’s all about the variety. It’s why your seasonal challenge is such a good idea 🙂

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