Happy bank holiday Monday, guys! It’s seems like forever ago since we had a 3 day weekend so to relish in a day of freedom – whether you’re lazing around doing nothing or spending it being counter productive – is something to engulf. The August bank holiday, for me, pretty much marks the end of summer. September swarms in and soon enough we’re swapping sunglasses and flowers for scarves and crispy, golden leaves and as much as I love the warmer weather, I can’t help but pine for my favourite time of the year! Saying this, there was no better time to publish a guest post very kindly written by Alyson Yazi to feature on my blog – because if there’s any opportunity to get back into a healthy routine and shed off that ice cream enforced timber, it’s a change of season. Enjoy!
The phrase “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” comes from an old 19th century proverb “Eat an apple on going to bed, and you’ll keep the doctor from earning his bread.” It is safe to say that health experts prefer the modern version. What it does show is how much value was put in the health benefits even during Victorian times. A lot has changed since that time but that theory is still as sound and as important now as it was then. Nutritionist Resources state the ideal amount of fruit and vegetables to eat is 400 grams, which equals to about five portions.
There are many ways to inspire yourself to eat your five a day. Fruit and vegetables don’t purely have to be a side to protein. For example a blog post by Tootsa recommends creating Mango Lime Pops that are ideal for hot summer days and are very healthy. Rather than using cow milk the recipe calls for coconut milk, which has a higher nutritional advantage through the amount of copper it contains. Copper is essential for a healthy immune system and helps with the creation of resilient connective tissue. It is however higher in saturated fat than milk, so it is recommended not to go over the amount stated in the recipe.
Mango Lime Pops
2 ripe mangos, chopped
2 limes, juiced
1/4 cup light coconut milk
1/2 cup of water
9 plastic 3oz cups / popsicle moulds
Small wooden craft sticks
In a blender, puree all the ingredients. Taste and adjust.
Pour into cups / molds and freeze for a least 4 hours. After the first 2 hours, place the sticks into the partially frozen pops.
Getting your fill of fruit and vegetables doesn’t mean eating dull food. Comfort food such as Shepherd’s Pie is a great way to combine health and taste. On BBC Good Food they recommend using sweet potato rather than the normal potato. This is because while potatoes are a good source of potassium, fibre and vitamin B, they don’t count towards the five a day (so unfortunately no stocking up on chips), yet sweet potatoes do count due to their increased fibre and nutrients.
Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie
1 tbsp rapeseed oil
2 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic clove, chopped
2 carrot, grated or finely diced
2 tbsp fresh thyme leaf
400g pack extra-lean minced lamb or beef
85g red lentil
350g swede, diced
2 tbsp plain flour
750ml reduced-salt beef stock
200ml red wine 350g potato, diced
650g sweet potato, diced
150g 0% plain probiotic yogurt
generous grating of nutmeg
green vegetables, to serve
Heat the oil in a large pan, then fry the onions for 6 mins until starting to turn golden. Add the garlic, carrots and thyme, and cook for 4 mins more. Stir in the mince, breaking it up with the spoon. When it has turned brown, add the lentils and swede with the flour. Cook for 1-2 mins, then gradually add the stock and red wine. Cover and simmer for 35-40 mins. Meanwhile, boil all the potatoes for 15-20 mins until tender, then drain and mash with the yogurt, nutmeg and black pepper. Spoon the meat mixture into a 2-litre ovenproof dish, spread or pipe the potato mixture on top, then grill until the topping starts to brown. (If making ahead, reheat in the oven at 180C/160C fan/gas 4 for 45 mins.) Serve with green veg, such as peas and broccoli.
With all the health benefits why don’t a lot of people eat their five a day? Unfortunately many people believe that eating healthy is expensive. Weight Loss Resources suggests choosing fresh and vegetables in season as they will be cheaper and tastier. They also point to the psychological side of disliking vegetables that often starts during childhood. As we grow our tastes change and sometimes all it takes is to try something again to determine if we like it. Often the taste will be very different to what we imagined.
We hope this article with the recipes has given you some ideas of how and why to make sure you get your five a day.
I don’t know about you but I’ll be certainly trying out these appetising recipes. Thanks so much for sharing, Allie!