Why aren’t people achieving 5 A DAY?

We explore why people don’t eat more vegetables and give tips on how to encourage patients and clients to achieve their 5 A DAY.

Vegetables and fruits are well established in having an important part to play in maintaining good health and preventing diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular disease. There is evidence to suggest that the more of these we eat, the better. However, helping more people achieve the current 5 A DAY advice is still a challenge.

The latest government figures show that only 30 per cent of adults eat the recommended five portions a day. Teenagers consume even less with only 10 per cent of boys and seven per cent of girls aged 11-18 years achieving five portions1.

A recent survey commissioned by Birds Eye polled 1,000 British people about their attitudes and habits around the consumption of vegetables2. Participants listed the following reasons for not eating more vegetables:

  • They struggle to find exciting ways to cook vegetables
  • They don’t know how to cook vegetables properly
  • They believe vegetables have a short shelf life and go rotten quickly
  • They have childhood traumas and bad memories of school dinners
  • Londoners blamed their long journey times for not allowing them time to cook in the evening.

How you can help patients and clients achieve 5 A DAY

  • Use the recipe section to find simple and healthy plant-based recipes to share with patients
  • If time is a barrier, encourage patients to cook in bulk and divide food into portions to freeze or eat later in the week
  • Signpost patients to community cookery clubs if they want to develop their cooking skills
  • Display our What Counts as a 5 A DAY Portion? poster to show what one portion looks like.

Five tips for 5 A DAY on a budget

  • Buy vegetables and fruits when they are in season as they are often cheaper
  • Buy from local markets
  • Use tinned (in water or juice), frozen or dried vegetables and fruits. As well as being cheaper they keep longer too
  • Look out for supermarket deals – especially mix and match offers
  • Buy fruits and vegetables loose rather than pre-packaged. Loose fruit and vegetables can be as little as half the price

Published in Spring 2015 issue

References

1. Public Health England. New National Diet and Nutrition Survey shows UK population is eating too much sugar, saturated fat and salt. Press release.

2. Birds Eye “Vege-nation” study.  Have you had your daily helping of veg today?