We’re always reminded just how important it is to get our ‘five a day’ – five portions of fruit and veg that are supposedly necessary for a healthy lifestyle. Now, this doesn’t sound too difficult, but just how practical is it when you’ve got a busy schedule and it isn’t at the top of your priorities?

Well, it’s needless to say that, for the most of us, eating 5 portions of fruit and veg a day is not at the top of our priorities, and sometimes scoffing down that last piece of chocolate (along with the rest you ate 5 minutes earlier) is just that little bit nicer.

Last week I decided to try and give it a go for myself, but unfortunately I didn’t get very far. Without any prior knowledge as to why it is actually so important to have 5 portions a day, I didn’t really take it too seriously. On average, I only managed about 2-3 portions a day, and that’s when I was making a conscious effort to do so. On days I was feeling a bit stressed or down I struggled to even have one portion – I’m a comfort eater, that’s my problem.

However, on looking back and researching ways to stick to 5 a day without too much hassle, I’ve realised that it probably wouldn’t have been that difficult if I had just done this to begin with. A particularly useful website is NHS Choices, which gives advice on how to stick to such a regime without spending too much money or changing your habits drastically. For instance, they suggest:

Replace your morning or afternoon snack with a piece of fruit. A banana or an apple costs around 20p at the supermarket, about half the price of most chocolate bars or packets of crisps.

However, most importantly, the website gives us some reasons as to why we should have five a day, and they do seem particularly valid.

Five reasons to eat five portions of fruit and veg

  • Fruit and vegetables are a good source of vitamins and minerals, including folate, vitamin C and potassium.
  • They’re an excellent source of dietary fibre, which helps to maintain a healthy gut and prevent constipation and other digestion problems. A diet high in fibre can also reduce your risk of bowel cancer.
  • They can help to reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke and some cancers.
  • Fruit and vegetables contribute to a healthy, balanced diet.
  • Fruit and vegetables taste delicious and there’s so much variety to choose from.

So, while it may seem a bit impractical to have five a day if you have a very busy schedule, just remember why it’s so important, and next time you’re reaching for that giant chocolate bar, you might want to think again and opt for an apple or a banana instead. It’ll be worth it in the long run, and might even save you some money.