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Eating Healthily: How to Achieve the 2 and 5 Rule
According to leading health authorities, we should consume at least 2 portions of fruit and 5 portions of vegetables per day as part of a healthy diet and to improve our body’s condition. As studies have shown, a lifestyle that includes enough fruits and vegetables can help prevent and reduce the risk of cancer, constipation, obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. It is therefore extremely important that one consumes sufficient amounts of fruits and vegetables to ensure that the body receives the nutrients it needs daily for optimal health.
In Australia, researchers found that the average adult only eats 2-3 servings of vegetables a day (half the recommended amount) and 1-2 servings of fruit a day. This means that, on average, many people still need to try to increase their daily intake of fruits and vegetables to ensure that their bodies are getting the recommended nutritional needs.
The main reason why the average person consumes half the recommended daily intake of fruit and vegetables, and why many people find it difficult to follow this rule, is that eating 2 servings of fruit and 5 servings of vegetables means you have to eat a lot. Examples of portions are shown below.
One serving of fruit equals:
- 1 piece of fruit such as apples, oranges and bananas, or;
- 6 strawberries or;
- 15 grapes, or;
- a cup of freshly squeezed juice
One serving of vegetables equals:
- a cup of cooked vegetables
- 1 whole tomato
- 10 baby carrots
- 1 cup salad greens
So in a hypothetical example, you would need to consume 2 apples, 3 cups of salad greens, 10 baby carrots, and another full cup of cooked vegetables to reach the 2&5 rule. And remember, we haven’t even considered protein and carbohydrates (which are essential in a healthy lifestyle).
So how can you ensure that you are consuming enough fruits and vegetables to meet your optimal nutritional needs?
Below I have written some ideas to help you achieve your goals.
- If you don’t normally eat fruit, drink a cup of your favorite squeezed juice for breakfast. That’s your daily recommended portion of fruit taken care of! (Remember to avoid canned juices and juices with added sugar. They don’t provide as many nutrients and are higher in calories!)
- For a mid-day snack, have baby carrots with low-fat dips like hummus. (That’s 1 serving of vegetables)
- Look for healthy recipes that include more fruits and vegetables in the ingredients.
- Make sure you always add vegetables to your lunch and dinner.
- For lunch, it’s a good idea to add tomatoes, beetroot and onion to a sandwich and have a bowl of fresh salad and light dressing on the side.
- For dinner, always serve the main course with a salad. If you’re sautéing, add vegetables like capsicum, onion, beans, and bean sprouts.
- If you are still finding it difficult to meet your daily recommended intake of fruit and vegetables for a healthier body (i.e. if you have a small appetite or are trying to lose weight and want to reduce portion sizes, or just don’t like the taste of fruit and vegetables in general), it is still possible to provide , so that your body receives as many nutrients and vitamins as it needs.
- I personally find this to be the easiest solution to this problem and use it myself. By taking high-quality supplements that are packed with the right combination of nutrients, you can ensure that your body is getting all the nutrients it needs on a daily basis. By avoiding a nutritional deficiency, you’ll help maintain your energy levels, reduce your risk of illness and disease, and keep your body and life in optimal shape.
Remember, being healthier requires a lifestyle change. Even if you take supplements (which are great at helping your body get all the important nutrients and vitamins it needs), you can never supplement an unhealthy diet. Eating healthier and developing a healthy diet is still the foundation of a healthy lifestyle. If your current diet requires big changes, start with small changes and set goals. This will ensure you stick around and stay motivated for healthier well-being.
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