We may be a nation of fitness fanatics with Instagram hashtags totaling 15 million when it comes to #healthyeating but it seems our love for the fruit and veggies isn't quite on par.
A poll at the end of last year showed that 4/5 adults still fail to raech their 5-a-day target and that was before 10-a-day hit the headlines. Some health experts are even suggesting that this obsession with healthy eating can lead to longer term eating disorders.
Grow It Yourself (GIY) founder, Michael Kelly, has stepped in to reveal his tips on how to reignite your food mojo.
What 10-a-day actually looks like
€˜A portion of veg or fruit is generally 80g so 10 portions weighs in at 800g - just under 1kg. That's the size of a hairdryer, two loaves of bread and a toaster,' says Grow It Yourself (GIY) founder, Michael Kelly.
€˜It's really daunting to hear that we have to eat nearly a kilo of
fruit and veg when too many people's diet still consists of some tomato in a sandwich and a glass of something juiced.'
A daily misery
€˜It's unfortunate that the focus is entirely on artificial portion recommendations that actually risk turning eating into a daily misery. We should be eating, with joy, a balanced diet full of nutritious, natural, seasonal fruit, vegetables, fish and meat rather than trying to hit a target' says Michael.
Why we need €˜food empathy'
€˜When you start growing your own food you get into a mindset of not wasting any of your veg because you've put all that effort into growing them.
€˜At least half the skill of successful food growing is related to what you do with it in the kitchen. If you spend that time processing the veg then you save yourself time in busy mid-week as you have things you can grab from the freezer or cupboard - e.g. some chopped celery to chuck in to a stew or delicious chutney for the kid's sandwiches.'
10 reasons EVERYONE should (and can) grow their own food
- Money saving - a healthy basil plant on the windowsill can last for months, whereas you can spend £2 on dried basil from a supermarket
- Better for you - the real value in home-grown food is that because it's seasonal and fresh it will have far more flavour and will be more nutritious
- You'll teach your kids - give kids some autonomy in the veg patch and give them a dedicated raised bed or part of a bed for them to experiment with. Let them grow what they want to grow
- Food empathy - you understand and value your food more because you've grown some of it yourself
- Time - how much time do you have? Some vegetables are very easy to grow, requiring little maintenance (say parsnips for example) while others require regular attention (like tomatoes). Can you spend a few hours on a Saturday in the veg patch or do you have to ferry children around to various activities? I reckon on average about 3-4 hours per week is required keep yourself and your family in veg all year around
- ..and money - if you're time-constrained, think about the cost of food (though that's not always the reason why people GIY). Some vegetables are so cheap you might be as well to buy them and focus your efforts on more costly vegetables
- The environment - start upcycling and get your little ones to play their part by making things from upcycled materials e.g. make a little watering can by punching holes in the cap of a water bottle
- Reach for the garden not the biscuit tin - sampling crops out the veg patch such as grazing on sweet carrots or strawberries is a fantastic way to develop kids' palates. Children love to learn and will be more fascinated by these than packets of beige food in the food cupboard
- Sun-worshippers - pick the sunniest position possible (some veg will grow in shade or semi-shade but they are in the minority). The rest are sun worshippers - a bit like ourselves. If you're limited on space then windowsills are perfect for this.
- Fresh air and exercise - gardening is great for all areas of our bodies from strengthening bones, muscles, and joints to improving mental health and decreasing lifestyle diseases such as obesity, heart disease, stroke, and some cancers
Is your school signed up? If so then upload your photos at https://innocentsowandgrow.com/ to be in with the chance to win monthly prizes from innocent and see your classroom crowned as Sow & Grow champions! Following the repackage of innocent kids drinks, consumers can also win seed packs by following the instructions on pack. Available nationwide now in most major supermarkets. Good luck!