In early 2014 we were all told that eating at least 'seven-a-day', rather than five portions, of fruits and vegetables is the secret to good health. However many people struggle to fit in five portions let alone seven!
Fast forward to February 23, 2017, and that advice has been amended to 10-portions-a-day!
Assuming the advice is good can you afford to follow it as the price of some fruit and vegetables rockets and there is a shortage in some cases?
A portion however may be nothing more than a handful of blueberries or half a dozen strawberries.
Can you afford to ignore good advice?
While the advice may be well intentioned and sound it will not be easy to follow.
The price of fruit and veg in the U.K. is sky high. Some produce bought from supermarkets is past its best at point of sale and quickly inedible. If money is tight, and even if it is not, throwing food away untouched will be galling.
Again it proves the government and researchers are out of touch with the lives of many British people.
Here is some advice as to what you can do to improve your fruit and veg intake:
Grow your own -- No matter whether you have a garden or not it is possible to grow some produce. It may not always be cheap but it does not have to be expensive. Start seeds off in old card egg boxes, or empty, clean yogurt pots, so individual seedlings are easy to pot on. You can grow tomatoes in hanging baskets and tubs so be inventive. An old bucket can act as a big plant pot. Radishes grow very quickly and careful planting can mean you have a ready crop throughout summer. Select crops that you know your family will want to consume.
Compost -- If any fruit or veg does begin to turn before you can consume it, use it rather than just binning it. Small composters are a great way to dispose of dead flowers, fruit, veg, peelings, egg shells, paper and old tea-bags but not cooked or raw food.
Plant potatoes gone to seed -- If potatoes begin to sprout before you can eat them plant them for an almost cost free crop of spuds. They will not count toward your seven-a-day but will save you money and enable you to buy fresh fruit and veg.
Frozen -- Frozen fruit and vegetables apparently do not count towards your daily quota. These days quick time freezing does however ensure some goodness is retained. In winter buy products such as tubs of frozen summer fruits which can be quickly stewed ready to add to breakfast cereal or use in other ways.
Windfall -- Windfall apples can be used once stewed. But what about free foods such as brambles, or blackberries? You can still find plenty growing wild and ready for you to pick in late summer come early august. Perfect for making jam, freezing or just eating straight away.
Cooking -- As consumers become lazy and use pre-cooked ready meals the art of simple cooking is forgotten. However it is cheaper in many cases to cook your own, with selective cooking and shopping.
Research -- Research best prices and shop around. Research recipes at your local library or online. Choose ones that will offer good value for money but also retain the nutrients of fruit and veg used.
Diversify -- Variety is the spice of life. If your usual choice of veg has gone up in price or is not available try an alternative. You may be surprised how tasty some fruit and veg really is.
Get an allotment
Finally -- Never get too bogged down with the latest health advice.
We are all individuals and our genes play a part in our health.
What may be great today could be dismissed tomorrow. It is however worth following a sensible diet and we all know fruit and vegetables have a wealth of benefits. Good health though is often also about lifestyle and exercise so make other changes including quitting smoking.
Whether G.M.O. fruit and veg offer the same positive health benefits is unclear.
Always ensure you thoroughly wash fresh fruit and veg, especially if not home grown, to remove any potential insecticide residue.
BBC News 2014
"A study of 65,226 men and women indicated the more fruit and vegetables people ate, the less likely they were to die - at any given age. Seven a day cut the risk of dying from cancer and heart disease. But the government says its "five-a-day" advice is sufficient and that many of us struggle to achieve even this.
Fruit and veg: For a longer life eat 10-a-day
10 ways to hit your 10-a-day, with minimum effort