Top tips to help the school children get their five a day

When the bell rings……

• Buy small, sweet apple varieties, but don’t serve apples every single day! Alternate with other fruit to keep it interesting.
• Invest in some smaller, sealable tubs or pots, and send mixed blueberries and raspberries Always check to see which are the best fruits in-season.

Eating their greens…..

• Start them early and shovel the ‘greenery’ into pitta pockets and sandwiches alike. If you keep putting it in, they may even get tired of trying to pick it out, and eat it ! The sandwich is a brilliant way to get green leafy veg on to the menu, unless you are blessed with children who actively engage with spinach or asparagus tips.

• If that doesn’t work try some grated carrot, sliced cucumber, finely chopped peppers or whatever they do like. Maybe it’s whole cherry tomatoes. Pile them in.

• Make a softer filling, made with hummus and roasted veg for those children that eat less meat.

• Add pesto for extra flavour to sandwiches, baps and rolls.

• Add carrot sticks with dips. Also celery, peppers of all colours, sugar snap or mangetout, cherry tomatoes work well too.

• A warm vegetable soup drink is great in colder months, and you can use just about any combination of vegetables. Heat to just below boiling, pour it into a small, warmed flask and it’ll be just the right temperature at lunchtime


Lunch Box Green Bean & Carrot Salad

Serves 4

  • 350g green beans
  • 225g carrots
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 red onion


  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp sun-dried tomato paste
  • ¼ tsp caster sugar
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Top and tail the beans and blanch them in boiling water for 4 minutes, until tender. Alternatively you can steam them until tender. Drain and rinse the beans under cold water until cooled. Drain again. Transfer the beans to a large salad bowl.

Peel the carrots and cut them into thin matchsticks using a mandolin if you have one. Halve and deseed the pepper and cut the flesh into thin strips. Peel the onion and cut it into thin slices. Add the carrot, pepper and onion to the mix.

To make the dressing, place the oil, vinegar, sun-dried tomato paste, sugar and pepper in a screw-top jar and shake well. Pour the dressing over the vegetables and serve immediately or leave to chill in the fridge until required.


Spinach & Orange Salad

Serves 4-6

  • 225g baby spinach leaves
  • 2 large oranges
  • ½ red onion
  • Dressing:
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp clear honey
  • ½ tsp wholegrain mustard
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Wash the spinach leaves under cold running water and then dry them on absorbent kitchen paper. Remove any tough stalks and tear the larger leaves into smaller pieces.

Slice the top and bottom off each orange with a sharp knife, then remove the peel. Carefully slice between the membranes of the orange to remove the individual segments. Using a sharp knife, finely chop the onion.

Mix together the salad leaves and orange segments and arrange in a serving dish. Scatter the chopped onion over.

To make the dressing, whisk together the olive oil, orange juice, lemon juice, honey, mustard and pepper to taste. Pour the dressing over the salad just before serving. Keep it in a separate container if you are bringing your lunch to work. Toss the salad well to coat the leaves with the dressing.


Five a Day – Portion Size

What does a serving of fruit or vegetable look like?

Each of the following is a rough guide to what an adult fruit serving looks like:
• 2 smaller fruits such as plums
• 14 cherries
• 1 handful of berries
• 1 medium fruit such as apple or  pear
• 2 to 3 tablespoons of fresh fruit salad

Children can also be encouraged to eat at least five servings of a variety of fruit and vegetables each day. However the serving size a child needs varies with age, body size and physical activity. As a rough guide, one serving is the amount they can fit in the palm of their hand.

Each of the following is a rough guide to what an adult vegetable serving looks like:
• Green vegetables – 2 broccoli spears or 4 heaped tablespoons of kale, spinach, spring greens or green beans.
• Cooked vegetables – 3 heaped tablespoons of cooked carrots, peas or sweet corn, or 8 cauliflower florets.
• Salad vegetables – 3 sticks of celery, a 5cm piece of cucumber, 1 medium tomato or 7 cherry tomatoes.
• Tinned and frozen vegetables – roughly the same quantity as a fresh serving. For example, 3 heaped tablespoons of tinned or frozen carrots, peas or sweet corn.

Juices and smoothies
• One 150ml glass of unsweetened 100% fruit or vegetable juice can count as a portion. But only one glass counts, further glasses of juice don’t count toward your total 5 A DAY portions.
• One smoothie containing all the edible pulped fruit or vegetable may count as more than one 5 A DAY portion, but this depends on the quantity of fruits or vegetables and/or juice used, as well as how the smoothie has been made.

For a single smoothie to qualify as being two portions, it must contain either:
• at least 80g of one variety of whole fruit and/or vegetable and at least 150ml of a different variety of 100% fruit and/or vegetable juice, or at least 80g of one variety of whole fruit and/or vegetable and at least 80g of another variety of whole fruit and/or vegetable. Smoothies count as a maximum of two of your 5 A DAY, however much you drink.