5 Things I’ve Learnt From Getting My “5 a Day”

Update: After two weeks, I’ve given up on trying to get my 5 a day. It was simply too much effort planning my meals, thinking about what to bring into work with me, and planning my weekly shopping. it wasn’t entirely a waste, however – instead of trying to hit 5 a day, I’m now more conscious of trying to get as much fruit and vegetables into my diet without a fixed benchmark. Five days in and I’m consuming more fibre than before I started this project, I’m satisfied with my meals (dissatisfaction leads to bad snacking – think chips, crisps and chocolate) and my toilet visits are back to normal – all is going well! 🙂 

Growing up, I never had a clear concept of how much fruit and vegetables one should eat. Sure, everyone knows that they should eat more fruit and vegetables, and I’m sure that Singapore’s Health Promotion Board has a guideline somewhere on how much we should be getting – but I only really started hearing about getting your “5 a day” when I moved to the UK.

I recently saw a link someone posted on Facebook, which gave pictorial suggestions of what “5 a day” looks like. It was only then that I realised just how little of the recommended intake I’m actually getting. Going by these pictures, I usually get close to 2 servings, and rarely would I hit 3 – and already I consider myself to eat more fruit and vegetables than most of the people I know!

5 a day

Hence, I thought I should give this “5 a day” thing a go. I started on Monday, and in the past 5 days I’ve learnt these 5 things:

  1. Five a day is A LOT. All the photos above, excluding those with salad, would be about a full meal’s worth of food for me. – and I am no small eater. Getting 4 servings already requires a lot of planning and attention, and I’ve not hit 5 servings at all yet!
  2. I’m constantly eating. I’ve had to substitute my lunchtime carbs to accommodate the additional fruit and vegetables, but somehow I get hungry more quickly than usual. I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong, as I always thought these stuff are meant to fill you up for longer.
  3.  It costs a fortune. Even though I’m also cutting down on some meat, which is considered the more costly part of a diet, I’m spending far more than usual getting the additional servings of fruit and vegetables. On the upside, I’m eating a wider variety of fruit and vegetables, which hopefully means I’m getting a better range of vitamins and minerals.
  4. Be careful of bad incidentals. I don’t usually do yoghurt, but thought it’ll go well with some blueberries I bought – until I realised just how much sugar a serving of yoghurt contains. Another thing to be mindful of while trying to get my 5 a day is to try as far as possible to eat the fruit and vegetables as they are, instead of spicing them up with salad dressings, dips or sauces.
  5. My digestive system is less regular. My system is somewhat out of whack – I’ve been on the toilet twice in five days, which is three times less than usual! I’m pretty sure this is related to me feeling slightly bloated and clogged up, and I’m waiting to see if this is just my body adjusting to the additional fruit and vegetables.

I’m going to try to see this through the weekend – I eat much better during the week than at the weekend – and stick at it for another week, before reevaluating to see how I can better get my 5 a day.

Is anyone out there struggling to get their recommended intake of fruit and vegetables? Or do you have tips and tricks to eating well? Share them in the comments below!

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6 thoughts on “5 Things I’ve Learnt From Getting My “5 a Day”

  1. Nathan Mizrachi says:

    I can see why it would be expensive to eat 5 servings of fruit and veggies a day while living in Belfast–you have the high cost of living that comes with Ireland, plus the pound doesn’t make things any cheaper. Especially now that most local produce is out of season it must be difficult. It’s a noble cause though–hope your bowel movements normalize soon!

      • Nathan Mizrachi says:

        When I was in Belfast a little more than a year ago I don’t remember seeing any open air markets where people sold vegetables or fruit, which I guess leaves you with no other option but Tesco or one of the other big supermarket chains? I bet when you’re munching on a bruised apple you really miss all those lush tropical fruits you have within arm’s reach in Singapore.

      • starduest says:

        Nope we do have some local grocers but it’s difficult to buy from them cos they’re open only while I’m at work. And – I’m probably gonna get shot for this, given the big push to buy local – depending on what you buy, their produce don’t last as long and can be more expensive than what’s in supermarkets. The supermarkets have pretty good quality stuff I think, but damn do I miss mangoes. And durian. And…. 😢

      • Nathan Mizrachi says:

        Unfortunately I know what you mean–I used to live in Boston and there was an open market near my flat, but if you didn’t eat the fruits or veggies on the same day you bought them they would usually spoil. I’m living under different circumstances now in Croatia and there’s a market where people bring their own garden-grown produce for sale, plus I have the luxury of walking there every day and buying just what I need for the day, so I don’t need to rely on stocking up at the supermarket. I could also go for a mango though!

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