Sunday, 10 July 2016

7 days of 7 a day

I posted a while back about how eating 5 a day of fruit and vegetables is UK government advice, however that recent research has suggested 5 is not enough and 7 is what we should be aiming for.

I'm never keen on dieting, detoxing or any of that stuff but I occasionally like to set myself a challenge.  This is mostly to have a chance to rethink my diet, be less lazy about it all and actually think about what I'm eating.  So many of us pass life by in a daze of eating the same things we always do.  Well that's fine but if you eat the same things all the time, what makes your lunch today memorable?
So... 7 a day.  I'm writing this knowing I'll start tomorrow.  I know, one of those "I'll start it on Monday" challenges right?  Well the reason is, I've just had a lovely breakfast of Skyr (Icelandic style yogurt) and fruit and didn't weigh the fruit.  D'oh.  One thing I really want to do on this is actually make sure I not only get the variety of fruit and vegetables but also the quantity as well.  What I've found when I've measured the fruit and vegetables in my diet before is the variety is huge (most of the time when I'm not being lazy) but the quantity is lacking.

The rules

So what are the rules?  I'm going to be quite strict with myself on this.  As I pointed out previously when I spoke about "5 a day" the "rules" don't just say fresh fruit and vegetables but permit you to count the following as a serving:  1 portion of fruit juice, 1 portion of pulses, tinned fruit or vegetables, frozen fruit or vegetables, dried fruit.

Now I have to say I think including fruit juice, tinned fruit and vegetables (for the most part) and dried fruit is not right.  In what way is a tin of pineapple chunks equivalent to a pineapple?  Or raisins equivalent to grapes?  Logically they're not, it doesn't take research to tell me that. They have a place in the diet but will not contain the same levels of vitamins as fresh food.  So my rules and my rules alone (because it's my challenge and so I makes the rules) are these are the items which will "count" in my 7 a day:

  • Fresh fruit
  • Fresh vegetables
  • Frozen fruit
  • Frozen vegetables
  • Pulses (maximum 1 portion)

I'm keeping in frozen because logically in my mind, it's pretty close to fresh and I'm keeping in pulses because they have a great influence on gut bacteria, that said, only 1 portion a day would "count".  For all that, my aim is to max out on the fresh as much as possible.  I may blend some of the fruit and veg into smoothies or soups but these won't be from juices (or if they are the juice won't count).

Portion size

A "portion" of fruit and vegetables according to the UK NHS "Change for life" website is about 80g for fresh fruit (it's less for dried but I'm not counting that anyway.)  Where possible I will weigh this out.  Where it's not possible, I will try and gauge it by it being an approximate handful for most things and a bowlful of salad leaves.

It has just dawned on me.  To eat 7 portions a day, I'm going to be eating over half a kilo of fruit and vegetables every day.  This will be challenging...


I will keep you updated throughout the week on what I'm eating, whether it's getting boring, what my plans are etc.  Please feel free to comment to let me know what you're thinking, is this a good idea?  Is it achievable?  Do you eat 5 a day?  What about 7?

If you'd like to read about my journey, please click on the links below:

Why am I eating 7 fruits and vegetables a day?
Day 1 of 7 a day
Day 2 of 7 a day
Day 3 of 7 a day
Day 4 of 7 a day
Day 5 of 7 a day
Day 6 of 7 a day
Day 7 of 7 a day
What did I learn by eating 7 a day for a week?

I've linked this up to the healthy, happy, green and natural party hop.


  1. As a lover of fruits and vegetables, all types of fruits and veggies plus grains and beans dominate my diet every day. I enjoyed reading your series and all of yummy dishes you ate. I have always enjoyed your healthy and relevant insights so I am so delighted that you shared 7 days of 7 a days at the Healthy Happy Green & Natural Party!Thank you so much for sharing your gems and for your support! Pinning and sharing! All the best, Deborah

    1. Thank you! I've found my diet today has still been really high in fruit and vegetables but I worried a little less that I ate two and a half apples rather than having so many different kinds. It has really changed my outlook though and accidentally I've found myself eating a lot less meat.


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