There are dozens of well-documented ways to improve our health - reduce saturated fat, sugar, salt, alcohol, swap refined carbs for whole grains - the list might not be endless but it's really long. And it usually involves us giving up something we love which is pretty hard to do.
There is one relatively easy change we can make, however, which doesn't involve deprivation and misery.
Eating more fruit and veg is a sure-fire way to improve our health and we all know it. All those vital vitamins and that lovely filling fibre really does help us to feel good and stay well.
So how are you doing?
Unfortunately, according to the NHS, a whopping 75% of us aren't even chugging down the World Health Organisation's recommended 5 paltry portions a day. To make matters worse, some experts claim we should be eating 7 or even 10 portions a day.
Whatever the numbers say, I don't think anyone's going to argue that eating more stuff that comes out of the ground and grows on trees is good for you. You also don't need me to repeat the countless articles out there explaining the science behind the goodness. It's all to do with the antioxidants and stuff isn't it? Understanding WHY veggies are good doesn't really make us eat them more, otherwise the pick'n'mix at the cinema would look REALLY different.
And in a universe of pre-packaged and processed goodies, it can feel like a bit of a mammoth task to be constantly washing, peeling, chopping and munching your daily dose of antioxidants.
So, we can judge ourselves, feel bad and just give up. OR, we can follow a few SIMPLE tips to pack in extra goodness without the stress. Stress depletes your antioxidants anyway!
Now, if you were expecting a neat little 'How to...' list?, I'm really sorry but I misled you with the headline a bit. The point was to grab your attention (that is what they're for, after all).
I'm not being awkward but there's no point me giving you yet another top ten list on how to add berries to your porridge or salad to your sandwich . You've read that somewhere before. Now where was it? Oh, I know, everywhere! (Go on, admit it, you scrolled down to find it).
No, The REAL secret to eating more vegetables is to buy them. Don't forget to wash them. Then, and this is the really clever bit: cook and eat them.
That's it. I hope you weren't expecting more.
OK, I'm being a little patronising. But there's a reason I'm stating the obvious here: ask yourself if you're actually doing all that. Regularly. And be honest.
Preferably before they go off. So that means checking the salad drawer BEFORE the freezer when you ask what's for dinner.
If that all sounds incredibly obvious (and a little patronising), ask yourself: 'am I actually doing that?' Because it's obvious that somewhere the message is getting lost. We know WHAT to do but we struggle to put it into practice. That's just human nature, we hate to change our habits. But that's all this is, a new habit. And like any habit, the more we do it, the easier and more automatic it becomes.
So make vegetables your default. Get creative. Learn to love them. Hide them in things if you have picky kids. When you snack, eat a piece of fruit. Not just once. Several times a week. And above all, stop getting all excited in the supermarket, filling your trolley with pak choi and baby sweetcorn and then leaving them in the fridge to go mouldy every week. Be sensible, buy the things you know you like, that are simple to prepare. You can get adventurous later.
So that's all good isn't it? You know what to do so you can just go off and improve your health now. Although, it doesn't quite work like that does it? Usually, as soon as we've read these sorts of articles, our good intentions fall down the back of the sofa and we can't quite remember how to do it in real life. I might sound flippant, but eating well really can work and it's good to spread the word.
So how about we do it together? Let's share how we've managed to squeeze more veggies/fruit into our day. Everyone's got an opinion these days, come on, share your cleverness with the rest of us and maybe you'll get some tips into the bargain. Have you made your own sweet potato crisps? Do you carry Tupperware boxes of sliced pepper everywhere for when you get the munchies? Or are you a magician at 'hidden' veggie shepherd's pie? Comment below and enlighten us. Pretend it's Instagram without the pics.