Chef Dez: Nutrition is not dull

Healthy eating food guides recommend that we, as adults, should be eating an average of seven to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables every day. Children should be eating four to eight servings, depending on their age.

This is an ongoing challenge for some people, so to assist you, I have gathered some helpful ways to help fulfill your intake requirements for healthy eating.

Keep in mind that I am not a dietician and these are merely suggestions from a chef’s perspective.

A single serving of fruit or vegetables can be described as one half cup of fresh, frozen or canned, or one half cup of 100 per cent pure juice.

Alternatively one cup of raw leafy vegetables or salads counts as a single serving, as well as a single piece of fruit. Keep pure juices to a minimum as they have a higher concentration of natural sugars per serving.

The first and most important direction to lead you in is to ensure that you are buying fruits and vegetables in the first place. Chances are if you don’t have them available at your fingertips, you will miss many opportunities to introduce them into your diet: out of sight, out of mind.

One helpful tip is to buy the recommended serving amounts for each member of your family for number of days you are shopping. For example, if you are a family of four and shopping to get you through the next three days, you would need to buy a total of 84 servings of fruit and vegetables combined, based on an average of seven servings each.

Purchase these before proceeding to the other departments and isles, and build your meals based on these initial produce selections.

An easy way to incorporate fresh spinach with every meal is to serve every piece of chicken or fish on a bed of sautéed spinach leaves.

Simply heat a pan over medium heat with a very small amount of olive oil, add a large handful of clean, fresh spinach leaves and season lightly with salt and pepper.

They will cook and wilt very quickly as you toss with tongs. Plate and serve immediately.

Watch for more fruit and veggie tips in the next Chef Dez column later this month.

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