TURNING JAPANESE: the fruit + veg challenge

Monday, 7 April 2014
So when I was reading about the news that we should all be eating more fruit and veg (which is kind of a no-brainer, but scientists have revealed it can make you live longer...assuming you also cut out binge drinking and smoking et al) I saw a tweet that said the Japanese guideline is 13 portions of veg and 4 of fruit! I could quite easily get through 7 portions a day but 17? That sounds like a challenge! And so I tried it.

The Haul: The eagle-eyed amongst you may notice that there are only 3 portions of fruit here as I miscounted. I squeeze a whole lime into some warm water to make up for it. I've also just realised I forgot to include the black beans I had for lunch, which actually means I stuffed myself with 14 veggies.

The Breakfast: A handful of spinach, strawberries and a banana whizzed up with some almond milk.

The Lunch: This one defeated me! It's one thing to eat 6 types of vegetables at lunch time but quite another thing altogether to be able to polish off all 6 servings. I made the salad from a portion each of tomato, sweetcorn, cucumber and black beans but there's only half of the salad on my plate and I couldn't manage the rest of it. This one's for people who say vegetables don't make you full!

The Snacks: As well as a couple of celery sticks with peanut butter (if you haven't tried this before, you're missing out) and two satsumas, I scarfed these radishes with olive oil and Maldon salt.

The Dinner: I stir-fried all of these tasty greens with brown basmati rice and a bit of soy, fish sauce, lime and sugar.

The Verdict: I am stuffed! I thought I could do this really easily, but the quantity of 17 portions of fruit and vegetables is probably more than all of the food I would eat on a regular day. I was surprised that the day turned out to not only be totally vegetarian, but would also have been completely vegan had it not been for the fish sauce! If a big juicy steak had presented itself, I think I would have been much too full to do it justice.

This way of eating is also not as expensive as the naysayers would have you believe. All of the fruit and veg in the first picture was only a fraction of what I got in my weekly shop, which cost £35 (including delivery charge) and included a couple of portions of meat and eggs as well. With a bit of forward thinking, my boyfriend and I ate all of the meals above, plus two nights of meatballs (one with spaghetti, one baked with eggs), quesadillas with salsa and gooey, cheesy omelettes - all knocked out with a (normal amount) of vegetables.


  1. I think if I put my mind to it I could eat a lot more than 5 portions but 17 is pretty intense. Maybe they do smaller portion sizes in Japan? Well done though. This all looks really yummy and healthy.

    1. You could be right! Japanese meals tend to be rice and a few vegetables and then pickles and things, but the little dishes tend to be quite small!

  2. Love this post, I love fruit and veg but I don't always get enough on a day-to-day basis, which is bad because I make sure my kids do, I can just be lazy, grabbing other stuff on the go. Bookmarked!