Category Archives: a health nut

Food Review: The Ginger People

 

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“The Ginger People is the leading brand of ginger in North America. With state-of-the-art ginger factories in both California and Australia, we take pride in being the most innovative, quality-oriented and environmentally conscious ginger producer in the world.”
Their products are also available in the UK, from places such as Holland and Barret, Julian Graves and independent health food shops.

After getting in touch with the kind folks at The Ginger People after reading a press release from them, I was lucky enough to be sent a box of samples to review. Here are my thoughts:

004 Gin Gins hard candy was the first product I sampled,
From the website these are described as "Double strength hard ginger candies made with all natural ingredients. Enjoy as an after dinner digestive or a throat lozenge to both warm and soothe.”
Both the box (bright yellow with the ginger people logo) and wrapper are eye catching and attractive. The sweets are individually wrapped making them perfect for popping in your pocket or bag. The ingredients list is reassuringly short: cane sugar, glucose syrup, ginger and three sweets contain just 35 calories.

The taste? Fantastic. Strong, but not too strong ginger and not too sweet. I had a cold when I tried these and they really did soothe my sore throat and provided a warm feeling against the Autumn chill. I now keep a handful in my handbag for when sore throats, or nausea strike, or I just fancy a  taste of winter.

001 Next up to be tasted was Gin Gins Boost “Gin Gins BOOST is a super-delicious, super-soothing candy packed with a whopping 30% fresh ginger – our most potent candy yet!”
Again these came attractively packaged and individually wrapped. The ingredients for these are:  cane sugar, glucose, ginger, modified cassava starch, non-hydrogenated palm kernel oil (trans fat free), salt, soy lecithin and they contain the same calories as the hard candy.

Were they strong? Yes! But not too strong for this hardened ginger addict. These sweets are slightly chewy with a deeper taste than the original Gin Gins, a little reminiscent of some kind of toffee, without the jaw breaking stickiness.  As promised, these were fantastic whilst travelling (I tested this by reading a book in the car, an activity that usually brings about much nausea) and again, I keep a handful in my bag.

002 Moving on to the Ginger Chews, I firstly tried the original version. These are bigger in size than the Gin Gins and the packaging is slightly more muted in it’s colouring. “America’s #1 selling ginger candy and winner of Fiery Food Association’s Scovie Award for "Best Candy," our Original Ginger Chews are natural, stimulating and delicious. Given ginger’s queasy-quelling properties, Ginger Chews are great to fight off nausea while flying boating or going on a bumpy road trip. Surprisingly and satisfyingly spicy. The only candy that bites you back!”

These chews are 20 calories a piece and just three ingredients: cane sugar, ginger, tapioca starch. They are also gluten free and all natural.

Taste wise, this have a good ginger kick and a fantastic stiff, almost jelly sweet like texture. Wonderfully addictive the box didn’t last long once opened and I am thankful that the Julian Graves near me keeps these in stock!

003 By far, my favourite variant from the range was the Peanut Ginger Chew.
”Like the coveted cashews in a bowl of mixed nuts, Peanut Ginger Chews are the first ones to disappear first from our company candy dish. Our delicious peanut ginger candies are reminiscent of those chewy peanut treats from our childhoods. Peanut Ginger Chews capture the gentle sweet heat of ginger and the nutty goodness of peanuts. Beyond yummy, ginger and peanuts are also rich in antioxidants. Satisfy your warmest and nuttiest desires with these exceedingly pleasing candies.”

Again, each chew contains 20 calories and the ingredients are: cane sugar, ground peanuts, ginger, tapioca starch. CONTAINS: Peanuts.

These were just fantastic, they had a richer, darker taste than any of the other products, and having never tried ginger combined with peanut, I was wonderfully surprised at how well the two worked together. These are definitely one to track down if you are a ginger fan, they make the perfect Autumn sweet treat.

Other products in the range include ginger drinks, cooking sauces and crystallized ginger.

They seem to be a bit elusive to track down in the UK, but I’ve done some searching and found the full range of Gin Gins and Ginger chews on www.amazon.co.uk by searching for “the ginger people”, you’ll also find products available here https://www.yourhealthfoodstore.co.uk. Hopefully other online retailers will soon start stocking them! For US readers, you’ll find these treats widely available online.

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Autumn Handbag Essentials

By Eloise for Can’t Help but Be

It would be very easy to say that  Summer has gone Autumn has arrived, but it if you live in the UK you will know that we never really got a Summer and this could in fact be a useful post for year round. However, the weather has definitely taken a change over the last few weeks and Winter is well on its way. With the crisp leaves on the ground, the nights drawing in and the inevitable rain and wind, we at Can’t Help But Be want to share with you our essentials for surviving the elements in our Autumn handbag survival guide.

Umbrellas.
Love them or hate them you can’t deny that the humble brolly is a pretty important staple in the Autumn months. And you will be spoilt for choice if you are looking for a new micro mini to fit your bag this year as there are so many gorgeous ones on the high street- from our favourite designers like Lulu Guinness, to Radley and Cath Kidston, to basic block colours or even PVC- the mini umbrella has never been so fashionable. Our top tip- if the umbrella you buy doesn’t come in a hard case then get yourself a pencil case that it will fit- that way you won’t have to worry about needing to leave it dry somewhere or have a soggy purse and more importantly it won’t get left on the bus, under the desk or at the pub again!

There are so many designs available in the shops to choose from. You can go wild with prints; be it spots, daises, teapots or tartan or keep things subtle with a block colour.  Here are a few to tempt you;

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This button beauty is by Radley, and whilst the £28 price tag may seem expensive, it is slim line and having been the owner of a few Radley umbrellas I can vouch for the strength- if it can survive all the rain in Wales then it must be good!

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This is the unmistakable rose pattern by Cath Kidston- at £20 it’s a gorgeous addition to help lift the autumn blues and to accessorise any outfit.

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And you simply couldn’t go wrong with this lightweight beauty from M&S and the best part is it’s currently reduced to just £5!

I could go on and on but then I’d steal all the fun, however I highly recommend going to www.brolliesgalore.co.uk to indulge in your brolly needs!

Hand Warmers.
Yes it may only be October but there is no harm in having one of these at the ready- especially if you have to de-ice the car in the morning or evenings! There are a wide variety of types on the market, from re-usable to one off use. The reusable ones are of course friendly to the environment and to your pocket- you simply reactivate them by boiling in a saucepan- simple. However, if you don’t fancy having to go through that then we highly recommend the Mr Men shake to activate hand warmers. These little pouches stay warm for an incredible 7 hours and with the only action needed to shake the pack to activate they couldn’t be simpler!

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You will find these most high street chemists, supermarkets and online.

If you fancy a reusable one then you are bound to find a shape and colour to suit your needs.  At just £3.91 this set from Amazon will banish those frosty fingers;

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These adorable VW campervans stole my heart and will be in my handbag very soon;

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And as regular readers will have noticed both Laura and I have somewhat of a sweet tooth so these seemed very apt!

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Both of these can be found as new arrivals on www.play.com

Tissues.
A true handbag essential regardless of the season! You really won’t be sorry for stocking a packet of handy tissues in your bag but don’t think you have to stick to boring white- why not go creative and let your inner fashionista out!

These Emma Bridgewater polka dot tissues are for the fashion conscious and for those who like good quality on their noses, they are a whopping £9 but then again you get what you pay for!

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If you have more of a fun side then how about these cheap and cheerful Regina Looney tunes pack, at just 28p they will bring a smile to your face;

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And we couldn’t leave out the market leaders whose softness we’ve all grown up with. Kleenex has a whole variety of products but we especially like the designs on these mini packs;

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(Laura says she is never without a pack of these gorgeous, girly packets!)

LED Torch.
Don’t panic, we aren’t about to go all James Bond and fill your bag with gadgets and gizmos, but once you’ve had a little led torch you will wonder what an earth you did before! As the nights start to draw in and the darker evenings commence you will be so glad you have a torch attached to your keys. No more fumbling for the keyhole on the door of your car or your home, keeping you stuck out in the cold and the rain, and it’s even useful clipped to the top of your bag so you can illuminate the contents, because we all know, no matter how well organised our bags are, whatever we want/need always hides out of sight!

Head on over to www.otherlandtoys.co.uk and snap up one of these:

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Notebook.
Not the old school variety but a mini spiral or A6 sort. Why I hear you ask? Well as much as it seems scary to think of Christmas (yes I’ve said the ‘C’ word already and it’s only October) is approaching and whilst it may be early for you to start your shopping having a little notebook on hand can be priceless. Use it to note down any little hints that people may drop, any special offers you see in store and when it comes to buying the gifts you will have a plan all laid out.

Lip Balm.
With the arrival of autumn comes the comforting warmth of central heating. But if you are in and out of the elements then make sure your lips don’t suffer the extremes by keeping them moist and gorgeous. There are so many to choose from that no matter your style you will find one to love. Tins, tubes and sticks are all excellent space savers although the sticks tend to  be the best to apply.

It’s hard to pinpoint just one product but we are loyal fans of Burts Bee’s products and they have a wonderful offer on at the moment, when you spend £25 online you get a lip balm free- perfect!

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Treat yourself (you can blame us later!)

Hairbrush.
Oh how we all hate that feeling where you spend hours getting your hair just right and looking lovely only to step out the door and either be windswept or soggy within a matter of seconds.  Having a mini hairbrush in your bag is key to keeping your style in the autumnal blustery moments.

These TIGI Bed head brushes will certainly stand out in your bag and are easy to keep clean and at £4.95 from www.hair1ukonline.co.uk are a steal;

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Flu Relief.
As much as we try and avoid it most of us end up with at least a sniffle of a cold and what with swine flu lurking in the background, stopping symptoms as soon as they arrive can help limit the effects. For sore throats and blocked noses we recommend both Strepsils sugar free range and their 2 in 1 product that contains menthol to soothe the sinuses and pain killers to ease your throat.

Need a bit more than a lozenge but don’t fancy pills or can’t easily get hold of a drink to swallow them, well how about keeping a sachet of Lemsip instant in your bag, make sure you read the label though!

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And there are plenty of products on the market that all claim to kill the flu virus dead but the best thing you can do is simple hygiene. If you sneeze, ‘catch it, wrap it, bin it’ and of course with your super stylish tissues on hand then you will have no problems in doing so. Of course if the people around you aren’t so careful then keep a bottle of Cuticura in your bag- it’s one of the longest standing alcohol gels on the market and is trusted by health professionals. If you don’t like the scent of the original one then how about their 2 in 1 blue hand lotion, not only will you be germ free but you will get silky smooth hands in the process!

We’d love to hear from you if you keep anything else in your handbag that you couldn’t survive the autumn without so please do get in touch!

Food Review: Nibchoc

By Eloise for Cant Help but Be

We all love that pleasure that chocolate gives us, the comfort and feeling of indulgence it brings with it’s familiar taste, but how many of us would love to eat it and not feel the guilt afterwards? Well, prepare yourselves because now you can! The wonderful people at Nibchoc have developed their chocolate to be

“more than chocolate…without the guilt”.

Yes, you read it correctly; without the guilt. Now I know you may be thinking this sounds too good to be true but I’m here to tell you it isn’t. Nibchoc truly is an amazing taste experience, and with it being vegan friendly, low fat and fewer calories than normal chocolate it is a true pleasure.

The secret of this product is in it’s origins- the chocolates are produced with as few and as good quality ingredients as possible. Instead of using heavy manufacturing techniques which rid them  of their beneficial nutrients, nib choc use the chocolate nib in it’s purest form. The result- chocolate that’s good for you!

But how does it taste? Well, I was extremely lucky to receive sample chocolates from their range to try and I was blown away. The first thing that hit me as I opened my box of bountiful treats was the aroma. Forget the smell of mass produced chocolate, this is a heady mix of cocoa that tingles your nose and arouses your taste buds. It puts other chocolate into the shade, a bit like the first time you smell real coffee and realise how instant coffee just doesn’t compare.

In my box was a selection of chocolates, all square and dense but imprinted with various toppings- I had great fun using the ‘menu’ they supplied guessing the identity of each. And believe me, your nose is one of the best tools for the job- unlike mass produced chocolates these truly smell of their contents- no artificial perfumes added, just the natural beauty contained within.

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My first taste was the macadamia nut– a whole nut sat proudly amongst the nib choc. The texture of nib choc was a lovely surprise, I had worried it may crumble and dry in your mouth but I couldn’t have been more wrong. Instead a wonderfully rich chocolate hit coated my mouth but then it went so smooth and cleansed my palate- it really was a lovely light chocolate that left me wanting more.

The goji berry was my next try, and I may be alone here, but the whole goji berry phenomenon has passed me by. I tried a dried goji berry a few months back and was not impressed by the so called super fruit but I was wrong. This chocolate wasn’t just my favourite it was one of the nicest things I’d eaten in a long time! The heady strength of the nib choc was cleansed away with the most beautiful fruity taste, like a mouthful of summer, it was delicious- so delicious I could happily have eaten an entire box full of just those!

My box was brimming with flavours, manuka honey (the only non-vegan one in their range), vanilla and rose petal that was so pretty as it was sprinkled with delicate pink petals almost too pretty to eat (but I managed it and was delighted by this beauty), coffee– the scent of which immediately transported me to a coffee bar and it’s entire coffee bean nestled in the nib choc was a total delight as well as the original pure nib bite which was a chocoholics dream.

I do however have one confession, the nib choc with chilli was not to my taste. Perhaps it was because I had spoiled myself with other yummy flavours but I found this chocolate a little too dense and somewhat dry for my taste. But don’t take my word for it, we all have our favourites and one’s we prefer in a box of chocolates, it’s what makes sharing them even more fun!

The nib choc website www.nibchoc.com  is full to the brim with information, nutritional facts and of course provide the online shop where you can buy their entire range of goodies. If you are lucky enough you may even find nib choc in a store near you, the list of their current suppliers in England and Scotland are found here http://www.nibchoc.com/contact.php .

I really would recommend these to any chocolate lover, the fact they are vegan, diabetic and celiac friendly does not mean they lack in flavour nor substance. Far from it, this chocolate is pure indulgence and without the guilt!

Your Low-Cal Shop

By Laura

A few weeks ago I posted my review on PB2 powdered peanut butter, noting that the one place it’s available to buy in the UK is a site I’d never come across before: Your Low-Cal Shop

Simone Jacobs, the owner of the store got in touch to tell me a little bit about herself and her business and so that’s what I’m going to share today.

Simone Jacobs became obese at the age of eight and continued to gain weight until she became morbidly obese in her early twenties. After many unsuccessful attempts at weight loss, her doctors warning of impending illness finally gave her the wake- up call she needed to do something about her unhealthy size.

At 31 years old, and after finally reaching her goal weight (losing over 10 stone), Simone realized that a new chapter in her life had begun. She now faced new challenges on how to maintain her weight loss, and found the answer in a new career in the Low Cal food industry. After starting her business from home, of selling low cal dressings and sauces, her business has now grown into a full service E Commerce shop called Your Low-Cal Shop.

Your Low Cal Shop carries a variety of no calorie and low calorie delicious products such as coffee flavourings, cooking sprays, puddings, snacks, sauces and sensational peanut butter. The product line is continuously expanding and Simone is always asking for feedback and suggestions from consumers on her website.

In a short amount of time, and after a lot of hard work, Your Low Cal Shop has become the online destination of choice for a delicious selection of healthy foods to help you maintain a balanced lifestyle.

For more information, please visit the website: www.your-lowcalshop.com

The shop is a treasure trove of goods that have until now, only been available to the USA.
Perfect for dieters and those who like to save their calories for the main part of their meal, I’m most intrigued by Walden Farms Apricot Fruit Spread (£3.99), Froops Natural Apple Crisps (79p) and of course my beloved PB2, as well as flavoured Splenda packets for your morning coffee.

Simone is currently on an adventure in America tracking down new products for the shop and according to the website we can look forward to Low Carb Protein Cereals later this month. The website also features a newsletter and recipes, which include a tempting sounding PB2 French toast. Shipping starts at £3.50 for up to 1kg of products, which in my eyes is a bargain..much, much cheaper than a flight to the USA after all.

Simone,
many thanks for getting in touch with Can’t Help but Be, we look forward to seeing more from your shop and wish you the very best of luck with it.

Food Review: LoveDean Granola

By Laura

I’m a breakfast cereal fiend, I can’t think of a cereal I’ve ever tried and didn’t like. My favourite variety has to be granola though, for it’s versatility and health benefits, so when I came across LoveDean I was immediately intrigued.

LoveDean Granola is an award winning cereal freshly made with jumbo oats, nuts and seeds which are slowly toasted with oils including hemp and pumpkin, and is sweetened only by honey. Free of all E numbers and preservatives LoveDean is endorsed by many well known nutritionists and celebrity chefs and has won several awards since it’s launch in 2005.

There are four varieties of granola in  range making it perfect for the whole family, choose from:

  • The Famous Original
  • Tangy Cranberry
  • Juicy Date and Apple
  • The Lite Fantastic (containing 37% less fat)

I was lucky enough to be sent a pot of The Famous Original to try out and share my thoughts with Can’t Help but Be.

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The plastic tub packaging (which is perfect for re-using for snacks on the go) is practical and looks sleek and classy. It also means the granola stays incredibly fresh and makes it easy to dip your hand in and snack throughout the day.

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I sampled the granola in several ways, initially just scooping out a handful for that all important initial tasting.

My verdict?
Impressive. Instead of being overly sweet as many breakfast cereals tend to be, this had a rich, dark taste and the flavours from the nuts and seeds shone through.

I also tried some for breakfast with both hot and cold milk; sprinkled over Greek Yoghurt and fruit, and I think it would be a wonderful addition to a fruit crumble topping too.

My only warning to you, readers, is that this is addictive stuff. Once you start eating it you cannot stop
(but considering this is so healthy, there is no need for guilt!)

Visit LoveDean at their website (www.lovedeangranola.com) for further information, many recipe ideas and stockists.
Currently LoveDean is sold at most of the UK Waitrose Stores and will hopefully soon be back up and running with mail order.

You can also read more about LoveDean creator Lucy O’Donnell here. An incredibly friendly and multi-talented woman, she’s on to a winner with her granola creations.

Food Review: PB2 powdered peanut butter

By Laura

I know what your thinking;
something along the lines of “What on earth is powdered peanut butter?” and “How can it possibly taste good?”
Allow me to explain.

PB2 is a fairly recent product from www.bellplantation.com
Their website states: “PB2 is made with premium quality peanuts that are slow-roasted to our specifications and pressed to remove the fat”.

It’s an all natural product containing no artificial sweeteners or preservatives, with the same consistency and flavour of full fat peanut butter but containing 85% less fat calories per serving.

Bell Plantation were kind enough to send me some samples of both the original PB2 and the newer chocolate variety to test out, after I contacted them wondering how it could possibly work. Here are my thoughts.

pb2_new_label2 A serving of PB2 consists of 2 tablespoons of the powder, mixed with approx 1 tablespoon of water, although I found I needed a bit more than this to get a good consistency for spreading on my sandwich. It can also be used in it’s powder form as a  mix in for yoghurt, shakes and any other liquid based food you care to think up (I’m planning on trying it in porridge next time I make some). A 2 tablespoon serving carries 50 calories and 2g of fat, making it an excellent choice for those watching their weight. It was very easy to mix up, producing a smooth paste with a strong peanut butter smell ( a good sign!). I was half expecting a powdery taste to the product but didn’t notice this at all, it tasted to me, very much like normal peanut butter but with a thinner, less sticky texture. This suited me fine as the main reason I don’t eat much peanut butter is that it sticks to the inside of my mouth too much. The serving size was generous and perfect for 2 slices of toast and I didn’t feel like I was eating the low fat, low calorie alternative.  I can see this being a staple product due to it’s versatile nature and guilt free advantages.

I also tried the original variety as a dip for crudités, which worked very well, especially paired with carrot sticks.

chocpb2-6 The chocolate variation of PB2 follows the same serving size and water ratio as the original. The calories are slightly higher, but not by much.
Again, I tried this on toast and it was fantastic. Just like nutella but less thick and with peanuts. It was a little bit sweeter, which I didn’t mind as I have a very sweet tooth, and again, felt like a much more decadent treat than the nutritional values would have you believe.

The website has heaps of recipes and uses for PB2, with suggestions such as cake frosting, smoothies and as an ingredient in cakes and pancakes. On my last check there were some 102 recipes and suggestions listed.

PB2 and Chocolate PB2 is available to order online through www.bellplantation.com for US and Canada residents and via www.yourlow-calshop.com for UK folks.

My final verdict: don’t be put off by the idea of this, it really does taste like the real thing and is easy to use. It’s also great in that you can just mix up what you need, meaning no sneaking spoonfuls of peanut butter from the jar (I know you do it too!). A versatile and all round useful addition to the store cupboard, PB2 is well worth the £5.99 price tag.

(photos, with thanks to www.bellplantation.com)

Ease Your Way to 5 a Day

We all know the importance of eating our 5-a-day but how many of us actually achieve it everyday? And what actually makes a portion? Well, to try and solve confusion and to show just how easy it is to get fruit and veg in your diet, Can’t Help But Be has come up with a reference guide, the do’s and don’ts and great ideas of how you too can enjoy getting your 5-a-day.

Do: Use your imagination. The key to bringing in any changes to your lifestyle is to keep things as enjoyable as you can. 5-a-day is not a diet, it isn’t something to dread everyday, it should be fun and the more you enjoy eating the portions the more you’ll forget that you have to do so!

Don’t: Count potatoes as a part of the 5-a-day. Yes sad news that the humble potato doesn’t count, as lets face it, we all love spuds. This isn’t to say they aren’t good for you though, and they are essential as part of a balanced diet (though sadly not when deep fried), but because they are one of the starchy foods they aren’t deemed to count.

Variety is the spice of life! Make your choices as varied and as colourful as possible. This isn’t just for the visual appeal, although it is important as we do partly eat with our eyes, but  also because the more colours you have on your plate the more vitamins and minerals you are taking in, meaning more health benefits for you.

Fresh is great but tinned, dried and frozen fruit and veg all count too. When buying fresh produce look for what’s in season, you’ll be surprised at how different food tastes when it’s actually in season (as well as it being much, much cheaper) and not forced- organic is best all round but don’t panic if your budget is low, you can often find organic bargains and frozen offers in many supermarkets, and at the end of the day non organic fruit and vegetables are still fantastic for you, just wash them well before use.

If you have a fruit bowl with items that are going past their best then don’t discard them. Banana’s that are blackening make amazing smoothies- if you have a bunch of them pop them into the freezer and use them when you are ready. Frozen banana’s make the smoothies even smoother and the darker they are the sweeter they become. Bananas are also a great breakfast addition, sliced on cereal, whipped in to porridge or mashed up on toast.

If you think 5-a-day means having to eat like a rabbit all the time then think again. If you enjoy a pizza then why not throw on a few button mushrooms, or a pepper- both count as a portion and will liven it up. Tortilla wraps, pita breads and bagels make excellent pizza bases. Use tomato puree, loads of chopped vegetables and a sprinkling of cheese for a healthy treat. Having sandwiches for your lunch? then great just add one tomato and that’s another portion clocked up. Other sandwich additions could include; cucumber, lettuce, beetroot and apple or banana slices (with peanut butter!)

Do you crave crunchy snacks? Well replace the crisps for carrots, peppers, celery or cucumber- your body will love you for it and they make excellent dipping tools. Salsa and carrots, or thousand island and peppers are always a hit, as are hummus and sour cream dips, and if you are in need of a treat how about peanut butter and celery (with raisins for bonus nutrition)?

Fussy eaters come in all ages but that is no excuse to not meet your 5 a day goal. If you make bolognaise or pasta sauce and have people who will pick out the veg then use a magi mix and blitz them up really fine before you cook them- that way you all get the benefit and the plates come back clean! This works great for onions, mushrooms and carrots, you can blitz them and use them in burgers too.

Need a cold treat on a hot day? Well remember the smoothies, they really are wonder foods- when you make up a batch keep some in reserve and pour into ice lolly moulds, or even ice cube moulds- place in the freezer and voila, beautiful fruity treats that add another portion to your day.

When it comes to everyday foods let your imagination go wild. Having a yogurt, with a tablespoon of dried fruit counts as one portion- a handful of berries also counts as one portion. To make an elegant treat place some berries of your choice in the bottom of a glass, then add a layer of yogurt, another layer of berries, another of yogurt and finish with a granola topping. Cereal is the perfect vehicle for a portion, or two, sliced banana, strawberries, raisins and blueberries all make yummy additions to the morning routine.

Remember every meal is an opportunity- having a salad? Then why not add some radishes or spring onions?; a stir-fry can offer up many portions in one go and can allow you to be exotic with Chinese bamboo shoots and Chinese leaf; for a snack  apples, pears and oranges are always firm favourites; frozen pineapple makes an excellent stand by for puddings and home made berry compote on top of ice cream or yogurt is always a winner.

Being on the go is also no excuse for skipping the fruit and veg. At the start of each week freeze a bunch of grapes and pop a handful in a snack bag before leaving the house. By the time you get to your break they’ll be perfectly defrosted (though are also super good to eat frozen!). You can also buy bars such as Nakd bars which count as at least one portion, or prepare Tupperware pots with all kinds of dried fruits; branch out from raisins and try apricots, figs, dates, prunes and apple rings for variety.

Here is our guide to what makes a portion;
(as listed on the NHS information page)

  • Quick guide to fruit portions:
    Fresh fruit:
    Small-sized fruit: 2 or more, for example 2 plums, 2 Satsuma’s, 3 apricots, 2 kiwi fruit, 7 strawberries, 14 cherries, 6 lychees
    Medium-sized fruit: 1 medium fruit, such as 1 apple, banana, pear, orange, nectarine, or 1 sharon fruit
    Large fruits: half a grapefruit, 1 slice of papaya, 1 slice of melon (2-inch slice), 1 large slice of pineapple, 2 slices of mango (2-inch slices)
    Dried fruit:
    1 tablespoon of raisins, currants, sultanas, 1 tablespoon of mixed fruit, 2 figs, 3 prunes, 1 handful of banana chips
    Tinned fruit:
    Roughly the same quantity of fruit that you would eat as a fresh portion: 2 pear or peach halves, 6 apricot halves, 8 segments of tinned grapefruit.
  • Juices:
    A glass (150ml) of 100% juice (fruit or vegetable juice or smoothie) counts as 1 portion, but you can only count juice as 1 portion per day, however much you drink. This is mainly because it contains very little fibre. Also, the juicing process ‘squashes’ all the natural sugars out of the cells that normally contain them, which can be harmful for teeth – especially if you drink a lot of it in between meals.
  • Quick guide to vegetable portions:

    Green vegetables:
    2 broccoli spears, 8 cauliflower florets, 4 heaped tablespoons of kale, spring greens or green beans
    Cooked vegetables:
    3 heaped tablespoons of cooked vegetables such as carrots, peas or sweetcorn
    Salad vegetables:
    3 sticks of celery, 2 inch piece of cucumber, 1 medium tomato, 7 cherry tomatoes
    Tinned and frozen vegetables:
    Roughly the same quantity as you would eat as a fresh portion. For example, 3 heaped tablespoons of tinned or frozen carrots, peas or sweetcorn
    Pulses and beans:
    3 heaped tablespoons of baked beans, haricot beans, kidney beans, cannelloni beans, butter beans or chick peas. Remember that beans and pulses do count, but only as 1 of the 5 portions, no matter how much you eat.

We believe that food companies should take more responsibility and put clearer labels on items so you know exactly how many portions you are getting so that keeping track is easier. Some companies do list on the back of their packs that they contribute to your 5-a-day but lets see more doing the same!

    We at Can’t Help But Be would love to know if you have any tips on getting your 5-a-day, or how you cope with fussy eaters? Let us know if you think 5-a-day is an easy target to reach or if you struggle to fit in all in.