We all know five portions of fruit or veg are recommended per day in your diet if you want to get all the nutrients you need. It makes me laugh sometimes what people imagine makes part of your five a day - chips? Well, they are potatoes, which is a root vegetable, but sorry, they don’t count.
Sugary juices may contain fruit, but they can also be bad for your teeth and full of calories. The same goes for sweets which are fruit “flavoured” but don’t contain the real thing. A better way to make sure you get the fruit you need is to use it in imaginative and tasty ways, so that you don’t feel like you are fulfilling an unpleasant obligation. Fruit is great at adding natural taste and flavour to things in a natural and healthy way. Pretty soon you’ll increase your intake without even knowing it.
Infuse water with fruit
Slicing limes or lemon and adding it to water is probably the simplest thing you can do to use up old fruit and make plain water more interesting. You can get more imaginative too - add basil or mint to your own choice of fruits. If you are lacking inspiration, I put some of my favourite flavours of juices and infusions together here on a recent blog. Don’t forget, you can infuse water and then freeze it to make ice cubes, ideal for colder months when your favourite fruits are no longer in season, or for cocktails at dinner parties. There is always Nuva if you don’t have time to infuse your own.
Sliced fruit on breakfast yoghurt
Liven up your breakfast with sliced apple, a sprinkling of nuts and some honey if you like things to taste sweet. Not only is that a tasty feast to start the day with, but you will be getting nutrients from the very first meal you eat. Might as well start as you mean to go on! Nuts are full of healthy fats and protein, plus apples will give you a burst of vitamin C, vital as we move into the winter months.
Save the pulp
If like me you love juicing, it can seem a waste to just throw the pulp away afterwards. The good thing is you can add it to sauces or even cake mix, and it will add texture and nutritional value. Plenty of recipes from soups to hamburgers require a thickener, and better the pulp from a fruit you have juiced than flour or another agent which doesn’t add any nutritional or taste value to the dish.
Make dried slices
Drying out fruit tends to make it sweeter, but these are great for a treat and an alternative to eating chocolate or other sugary snacks. Slice ripe peaches, apples or other fibrous fruits, and blot them dry with a kitchen town. Heat the oven to between 110-150 degrees, place the fruit slices on an oven tray, and cook them for about six hours. They will also fill the house with a gorgeous smell while they are baking. You know your fruit slices are ready when they are leathery in texture but still bendy and chewy. These also make good snacks for kids to take to school.
Rinds and fruits as stuffing
Another good tip I’ve had is to include rinds from fruits, or the fruit itself, as part of a chicken stuffing. Lemon slices just under chicken skin make the flavour delicious. They may not be enough to make part of your five portions a day, but it will make your Sunday roast that extra bit special.