Are you eating enough fruit?
Did you know?
62% of us don’t eat enough fruit*.
We all know the message of at least two serves of fruit a day but most of us don’t act on it. Only 38% of adult Kiwis manage to eat two or more serves of fruit a day* even though most of us like fruit and we live in a country where fruit is plentiful and affordable when in season.
A serve of fruit is usually one piece that fits in the palm of your hand but this can vary.
- Grapes – as many as you can hold in the palm of your hand (note this does NOT mean a large bunch balanced in your hand)
- Bananas – one small banana or half a large one
- Berries – one handful
- Kiwifruit – two
- Citrus fruit – one orange / 2 mandarins
- Dried fruit – here you move away from the palm of your hand rule. Dried fruit is very high in sugar and you can easily eat more than you need. Choose small boxes of raisins and sultanas, and just a few dried apricots rather than handfuls.
- Juice – first of all whole fruit is the best option but if you are a regular juice drinker, dilute with water, especially for children and enjoy a small rather than large glass. After all you wouldn’t sit down and eat four pieces of fruit at one go but you could easily drink the juice of that much fruit.
Here are some suggestions of how you can enjoy two more serves of fruit a day.
- Smoothies for breakfast (if you have a blender) – mix together banana, frozen berries (or fresh if plentiful and affordable), a kiwifruit (leave the skin on), grated carrot, add some oats for extra nutrition, plain yoghurt, milk and a little honey. Three or more serves right there!
- Cut up fruit for children. It just one of those things – most kids prefer cut up fruit to whole fruit, or make it more fun by making “fruity faces”.
- If you’re a baker consider substituting apple sauce for oil in recipes for muffins and cakes. While some information suggests a straight 1:1 substitution we recommend starting with substituting half the oil with apple sauce. When buying apple sauce read the label and choose the one with the lowest amount of sugar. Just snack on it… Fruit is the ultimate snack food; pre-packaged, sweet and delicious with a long shelf life.
- Have fruit for dessert – whole pieces are fine but make it more appealing by cutting up a variety and putting out a platter with some reduced fat yoghurt to dip it in.
Our thanks to Sarah Hanrahan, Dietitian, New Zealand Nutrition Foundation for writing this article. www.nutritionfoundation.org.nz
* University of Otago and Ministry of Health. 2011. A Focus on Nutrition: Key Findings of the 2008/09 New Zealand Adult Nutrition Survey. Wellington: Ministry of Health.