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Monday
Jan242011

The five portion conundrum

Last year I started trying to run regularly, so I could have another stab at a marathon. I started well, I think. Got up to 50 miles in June, from very much a standing start. From June onwards though it all got a bit hit and miss. 

Fair enough, I changed jobs in October, which changed my routine and my location and was always going to take a bit of rejigging. But actually, from October right through to Christmas I just seemed to get cold after cold. Every time I thought I'd got well enough to start thinking about cycling and running again, I got another cold. Or that's what it felt like anyway. 

So I took a break over Christmas, and decided to make two resolutions (which is badly out of character!):

  1. I'm going to try and run 4 times a week. 
  2. I'm going to really really try to get 5 portions of fruit and veg per day. 

Both of those sound pretty straightforward, right?

5 portions is actually really hard! I'm trying to make sure I get at least one portion with each meal, and then a couple of fruity snacks. Breakfast I thought would be hard, but I cheat and have a glass of orange juice. I also (if I have cereal) add dried apricots and raisins to it. 

(I started out with just apricots, but apparently 1 portion is 50g of dried apricots and that's seven of the little things. My digestive system doesn't seem ever so keen on that much dried apricot. We'll leave it there.)

For dinner, we're fine as long as we cook something. We normally cook enough so there are left overs, and your average pasta source or stew or soup contains a good, healthy portion of veg. However, if we're feeling lazy and dive for the takeaway menus, it all starts going a bit wrong. Even half of our frozen rescue meals (pizza and tortellini for the most part) don't seem to do much in the way of veg. I need salad I guess, but I didn't get any planted in time. One of my Christmas presents from the in-laws (yep, still feels strange typing that!) was a window ledge box for growing mixed oriental stirfry veg, but it takes a few weeks to grow. I've just started something similar in the office too for lettuce, but again, got a few weeks' lead time there. 

And the snacks. I bought lots of Nakd and Trek bars, so they help. Each of them is one portion. But did you realise that it takes two clementines for one portion? Me neither. I'm hoping an apple counts as one whole portion, or I'm stuffed. 

Anyway, with planning and so on, I can do weekdays reasonably comfortably. Weekends are an entirely different issue. I don't snack as much at weekends. I don't seem to have the same food structure at all. Anyone know what size portion of nasturtium pesto counts? No, me neither. 

Still, I'm feeling almost healthy again, and I've started well on this year's running. So I reckon it's worth the pain of trying to work all of this out. Does anyone know if fruitcake counts?! 

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Reader Comments (2)

I'd recommend frozen veg -peas, sweetcorn and broad beans. You can add them to tortelini or even on top of pizza without any effort required at all, and they're cheaper + more nutritious than the fresh versions. Tinned/cartons of chopped tomatoes are good too. Oh, and there's frozen fruit too -remember Mum's red berry compote on cereal?

January 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJay

Yep, we use peas and sweetcorn a fair bit (although I'm dubious how much of the goodness of sweetcorn gets released - *ahem*), and should use them more. Tomatoes feature highly, in pasta-type sauces particularly.

Actually one thing I've really been noticing is that the dried fruit really is a good way to store it for winter. I want to try drying some of our greengages this year. And I'm going to make Mum's compote with the currants too. We do have apple compote in the freezer too, I really ought to dig it out - be great with icecream!

January 25, 2011 | Registered Commentermartian77

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