A veg( or five) too far: why 10 sections 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 is impractical to afford all that, let alone cook it
Government guidelines have, for some years, held that feeing five portions of fruit and vegetables 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 handbag, to make sure theres broccoli on a plate, but generally its possible to eat five different fruits and veggies 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 one section of fruit and veg a day, I nodded and guessed: Huh, stimulates 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 scope organic, or only buying ethically sound dres that will served only 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 doubled this, though? When vegetables are sold in 900 g containers for the most proportion, and each member of the family should be having 10 portions a day at 80 g a portion they cant be the same fruit or vegetable then for families already fighting, this extra recommendation seems impossible.
Already millions are feeling the pinch of extended austerity. Detecting a fiver for the electric meter, or building sure theres food on the table at all, is a common battle in different regions of the country. Its not unusual for thousands of children to go to school hungry, having not eaten breakfast because the cupboards were bare at home.
Food banks are having a hard time keeping up with the families who, after paying their rent, have no money left for groceries. People who have no real cook facilities, often relying on a worktop oven or a microwave to assure them through, will have good reason to roll their eyes and dismis this advice. For some, its not even worth aiming for. Its impossible to afford it, let alone cook it.
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