We all know it's important to eat lots of fruit and vegetables to maintain good health. The government tell us we should be eating five a day, but a new study by researchers at the University Of London says we should be trying to aim for seven or more portions of fruit or vegetables a day. That's quite a challenge. So how can we fit all those portions into our day?

Get more fruit and veg

It's still important to eat lots of fresh fruit and vegetables as part of our meals, but we can also boost our intake with fruit juice and smoothies. Fresh fruit juice can count as one portion and smoothies which are a blend of whole fruit and vegetables can provide another couple of portions.

Need some ideas? Here are some of the ingredients you can add to a smoothie:

Fruit:

Apple, apricot, avocado, banana, blackberry, blackcurrant, blueberry, cherry, cranberry, gooseberry, grapefruit, grapes, kiwi, lemon, lime, mango, melon, nectarine, orange, papaya, peach, pear, pineapple, plum, pomegranate, raspberry, rhubarb, strawberry, tangerine and watermelon.

Pink Mango Smoothie

Pink Mango Smoothie Recipe

Salad and Vegetables:

Asparagus (a very small amount), beetroot (not pickled), bell pepper, broccoli, butternut squash, cabbage, carrot, celery, courgette, cucumber, fennel, fresh ginger, kale, kelp, parsnip, pumpkin, spinach, sweet potatoes, Swiss chard, tomato and turnip.

Seeds and Nuts:

You can add seeds and nuts to smoothies, but grind them to a fine powder first unless you have a powerful blender.

avocado, hazelnut and coffee smoothie

Avocado, Hazelnut and Coffee Smoothie Recipe

Fresh Herbs:

Basil, mint and parsley.

Spices:

Cinnamon, chilli, ginger, mixed spice, nutmeg and vanilla.

For a Creamy Smoothie:

Milk,  Greek yoghurt, plain yoghurt, silken tofu and  soya milk (or nut milks).

Luxury Ingredients:

Cocoa powder, coconut milk,  honey, Nutella, peanut butter and porridge oats.

Ginger chocolate smoothie

Ginger Choc Crunch Smoothie

For a really good smoothie add some fruit juice and lots of ice. This will give you better drinking consistency. Some fruit and vegetables can be quite thick when blended whole. I would also recommend adding apple or banana to vegetable smoothies to sweeten them.

My advice on blenders is buy the most expensive blender you can afford. I've bought cheap and mid price blenders in the past and the motors all burn out pretty quickly when you regularly make smoothies. A high end machine can blend whole fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds to the smoothest drink in seconds. I use an Optimum 9400, which has a 10 year warranty, so I don't have to worry about the motor. I also use my blender to make 5 minute soups, but that's a story for another day.

Here are a few more delicious smoothie recipes to get you started:

Author: Jacqueline Meldrum is a freelance food writer and recipe developer. Jacqueline blogs at Tinned Tomatoes 

References:

UCL: UCL study finds new evidence linking fruit and vegetable consumption with lower mortality

NHS: Five a Day

Read more articles by Jacqueline Meldrum here

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