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The Centra 5-A-Day Challenge #LiveWell

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Hi everyone,

As you may know I recently kicked off the Centra 5-a-day challenge on Ireland AM.

The whole aim of Centra’s challenge is to encourage the nation to increase their intake of fruit and veg over the space of 3 weeks – as it takes 21 days to create a habit.

Though it seems that everyone is on a health buzz at the moment, research shows that as a nation we are only getting half of our 5-a-day. To be completely honest, before I took part I really wasn’t getting my 5-a-day because I was always on the go and not paying attention to what I ate! I was however, really motivated to make a conscious effort in increasing my intake. Taking on board Centra’s consultant dietician Sarah Keogh’s hints, tips and recipes on, has made it surprisingly very easy for my family and I.

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Myself and Sarah Keogh with presenter Sybil Mulcahy kicking of Centra’s 5-a-Day challenge at Rush’s Centra, Stillorgan.

In week one I found it hard to get into the habit so a good tip from Sarah was to always keep fruit in sight in a fruit bowl so I was more likely to think of eating it when I saw it. Sounds like an obvious one but it really works! For snacking I kept sliced fruit or vegetable fingers at the front of the fridge which also helped stop me from reaching for chocolate!

In week two I added lentils to soups and stews. Not only are they high in fibre and a great source of iron, a ½ cup of cooked lentils (about 1 dessert spoon of dried lentils) counts as one of your 5-a-day. I also used my NutriBullet to make some yummy smoothies, I never realised that frozen berries are just as good as fresh. I blended them with a banana and some fruit juice for an easy breakfast smoothie.

Coming into week three, I am having cravings at nighttime for something sweet. Rather than reaching for the tub of ice-cream, I sliced a banana, topped with a little peanut butter and froze on a tray for 2 hours. Eaten straight from the freezer, they taste yum and count as one of your 5-a-day.

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I’ve tried out a lot of Centra’s recipes so far. Some of my faves include the avocado & egg (an avocado counts as 2 of your 5-a-day by the way!), hidden veg meatballs with tomato sauce (Ollie loves this!), and I’ve been adding a dessertspoon full of blueberries to my porridge in the morning, which counts as 1 of my 5. You can see all of the recipes here. You won’t be disappointed, I promise.

Incorporating all of these simple tips and recipes into my day-to-day lifestyle has really helped up my veg and fruit intake and I feel a lot better for it too. I’ll be back on Ireland AM next Tuesday 16th February to give an update on how I got on with Centra’s 5-a-day challenge, so be sure to tune in then.

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Did you take part in the challenge? If not why don’t you have a go and let me know how you’re finding it in the comments below and using the hashtag #LiveWell

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