The Healthy 13: Fruits and vegetables

This is a follow-up to the article about the Healthy 13 in which I’m going talk about my favourite food: vegetables! What’s your favourite fruit or vegetable? My favourite veggie used to be a cucumber but I ate so much of it that now I prefer to have it in my gin tonic rather than on a plate. It’s the sweet juicy red “spitz” paprika that is currently my vegetable star.

4.Eat enough fruits and vegetables (both raw and cooked), at least 500 g per day (two times more vegetables than fruits), divided into several portions and eat a small amount of nuts from time to time.

One of the biggest problems I come across as a nutrition specialist is low vegetable intake. Mainly of vegetables in their raw form. Does half a kilo seem like too much to you? It’s not, really. Half a kilo of vegetables is two medium sized tomatoes, half a cucumber and a smaller pepper. When you replace a serve of vegetable with some fruit, you’ll see that it’s quite easy to meet the daily recommendation.

Pol kila zeleniny

How to include this amount of vegetables into your diet? Swimmingly. If you have a vegetable-based meal (spinach sauce or soup, roasted broccoli, stewed vegetables with something on the side) then the problem’s solved. If you have some meat with potatoes or a slice of bread with butter, ham and cheese, simply fill your plate with a sliced vegetable of your choice – tomato, pepper, cucumber, radish… I follow the rule that I made for myself, that there must always be something colourful on my plate – yellow potatoes don’t count. In the following photos you can see some examples of my meals. Stewed vegetables don’t look that tasty but they’re really good.

Nuts: yes, but depends on the quantity

When it comes to nuts, lots of people consume too many of them, with good intention – they are healthy, after all. That might be true but they are in fact very concentrated sources of energy that might not necessarily satisfy your hunger like some other, larger foods that have a lower calorie density (pasta, rice, vegetables). The ideal serving size of nuts is about a handful. It’s better to eat them in combination with something else – like a salad or a yoghurt. Be careful not to eat roasted and salted nuts too often, as they are a hidden source of salt.

Let me ask you again, in case you forgot: what is your favourite vegetable?