The big food news this week was the study in from Imperial College that said, essentially, the more fruit and vegetables we eat the longer we'll live. The advice up until now has been to aim for "5 a day", five portions of fruit and veg a day for optimal health, but this has been blown out of the water by the latest news where the findings were that by eating as much as 800 grams of fruit and vegetables a day (one portion is deemed as approx 80g) the chances of cancer, heart disease and other deaths would be dramatically reduced. They estimated that approximately 7.8 million deaths could be prevented EVERY YEAR by eating more of the good crunchy, fresh stuff. The antioxidants and free radical munching plant goodness is thought to be the main reason and they have even pin pointed which ones are better at it than others. Do have a look at the full study to see all the fascinating findings. It's no surprise to us and we've been big into cramming as much of them into our recipes forever, but it's amazing when solid scientific research comes up with such massive mega claims on our health. So, to stop you all feeling freaked out about how this looks and what to do about this, particularly when feeding our families, who need it most, here's my 5 easy steps to smashing that quota: 1. Batch Cook It's been said before, and it's my game-changer of a tip as it saves me time and time again from reaching for the pasta packets at the last minute. It doesn't take longer to cook bigger batches really, so by getting your groove on at the weekend, or whoever you can, you can double up and stash a load of vegetable filled goodies in the freezer that are instantly ready to whip out and gobble up. By dodging the easy pasta and the ready meals you are automatically ramping up your veg intake. 2. Get a box My weekly veg box from Riverford (not sponsored just love them) has undoubtedly ramped up our veg intake by a MILE. Without even thinking about it I shove extra veg into sauces, pastas and snack boxes just because they are THERE! IT's cheaper than buying everything individually and you get seasonal, organic goodies to your doorstep. They taste fresher, crisper and more delicious than supermarket stuff and you get loads of ideas and tips in every box for what to do with it all. If in doubt at the end of the week stick it all in a big pot and make a soup to freeze! If you do sign up quote the ID VFUND4 for the Alexandra Rose Charity who I'm working with, and they donate £15 to them after your third box. 3. Have a raft of recipes to choose from It's so often just lack of inspiration that kills our veg vibe, so make sure you get have some veg packed recipe books to help you through and to get the kids to pick out what they want to try too to encourage new things on the menu. I built my new book LIZZIE LOVES HEALTHY FAMILY FOOD around the idea of packing as much fruit and veg into everything, so it's good place to start for quick, easy, vitamin crammed recipes. And it's almost HALF PRICE on Amazon right now. 4. Slurp em up I'm not expecting anyone to rely on liquid to get them through their day, but I can't bang on about the power of smoothies more, particularly when it comes to kids and getting extra fruit and veg into them. You can easily tick off 4 of your 10 a day in one pretty drink before school's even started. There are hundreds of ways you can concoct a delicious drink, and lots of recipes on here to get you going. By using a blender, and not juicing the fibre away, you're keeping all the goodness in there and getting a massive health boon to your kids. As a starter option the NutriBullet Graphite 8-Piece Set with Bonus NutriBlast Seed and Fruit (Graphite) (As Seen on High Street TV) is portable and really effective. But my absolute favourite for blitzing up anything and everything is the mighty Vitamix Professional 300 Food Processor & Blender 2L (40% Quieter) It's pricier, but it will never die, and it will be your best friend. I've had mine for 10 years and it's going strong, used at least twice a day which makes it cost less than 10 pence per use so far! Think of the money you'll save on those store bought smoothies too. 5. Make the veg the irresistible centre not the soggy side Always my ethos, to fight back from the era when soggy boiled vegetables were served up on the side of the plate and dreaded by everyone. Don't hide the veg, or mulch it all up for your kids to be fooled, just make it really damn delicious. By making the vegetables the beautiful centre of the stage, you are going to eat more for sure, and it;s going to taste better. Favourite recipes of mine like my Sweet Potato Bhajis are what I'm talking about and most kids I've fed these to have wolfed them down. Don't beat yourself up you can do it. Get yourself onto these tips and you'll totally kill it on the fruit and veg load. Please don't beat yourself up though if you have a stooge day or a veg light time, it happens and it's not the end of the world. Just hit up some more veg the next day/week and you'll still be keeping your kids in great shape. Noone's perfect and if you're here, reading this, you're trying pretty damn hard already so BIG UP YOU MAMMA. Here's to lots of delicious fruit and veg and long lives for all of us.