A veg( or five) too far: why 10 portions a day is way too much to ask | Kathleen Kerridge
In an ideal world, doubling our fruit and vegetable intake is a good notion. But in austerity Britain, it would be impossible to afford all that, let alone cook it
Government guidelines have, for some years, is of the view that eating five portions of fruit and veggies a day is what we should all be aiming for. Thats an achievable target for many, if not most, of us. Some days it might be felt in the purse, to make sure theres broccoli on a plate, but generally its possible to eat five different fruits and vegetables a day even on a strict budget.
Ten, though? When I first read that the guidelines could change, and we should be aiming for 10 portions of fruit and veg a day, I nodded and supposed: Huh, attains sense. But as I thought about it, while raiding my freezer for a bag of frozen carrots, I realised it was going to be another thing like buying free range organic, or only buying ethically sound garment that they are able to only serve to construct the poor feel guilty, again less than good enough.
Most days my family eats five a day with ease. The veg is in my budget, and theres always a suitcase of bananas or satsumas around. I buy frozen veggies and fresh fruit, and they get vacuumed up by the family as fast as I can serve them. To serve and supply double this, though? When vegetables are sold in 900 g containers for the most component, and each member of the family should be having 10 sections a day at 80 g a portion they cant be the same fruit or vegetable then for households already fighting, this extra recommendation seems impossible.
Already millions are feeling the pinch of extended austerity. Seeing a fiver for the electric meter, or making sure theres food on the table at all, is a common combat across the country. Its not unusual for thousands of children to go to school hungry, having not eat breakfast because the closets were bare at home.
Food banks are having a hard time keeping up with the families who, after paying their rent, have no fund left for groceries. People who have no real cook facilities, often relying on a worktop oven or a microwave to watch them through, will have good reason to roll their eyes and ignore this advice. For some, its not even worth aiming for. Its impossible to afford it, let alone cook it.
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