As the leaves turn amber and tumble to the ground, take a moment to cherish all that is Autumn fruit and vege in NZ to get your 5+ A Day!

Autumn is here and achieving 5+ servings of fruit and vegetables may seem challenging, but as we farewell the last of the wonderful berries and stone fruit that are so much a part of a NZ summer, other heroes emerge in their place.

Nutritionist and spokesperson for 5+ A Day Bronwen Anderson says, Autumn (March to May in NZ) heralds the arrival of a variety of fruit and vegetables that are both tasty and full of the necessary vitamins and nutrients for good health and well being.

“This season’s heroes such as crisp, juicy apples, blackberries, grapes and a range of melons are either great on their own or can be mixed for a quick dessert or a healthy breakfast on the run,” says Bronwen.

“Apples are a fantastic way of ensuring an adequate intake of vitamin C, fibre as well as a range of health promoting antioxidants,” says Bronwen.  “This popular fruit also has the added benefit of keeping teeth and gums healthy and in shape.”

Many people tend to skip the first meal of the day and as a consequence fail to kick start their metabolism.  Scientific research shows that vitamins and minerals missed at breakfast aren’t made up for during the day.

Bronwen suggests packing a container of fruit to take with you on the go as it’s packed with all the essential vitamins and minerals for a healthy start to the day.

As for this month’s seasonal vegetables, the variety is wide ranging. With the weather still warm enough for salads, combinations including oven baked vegetables such as parsnip, pumpkin and beetroot will provide not only a tasty treat but a wide range of vitamins such as Vitamins A, C and folate and antioxidants such as betacyanins which are presently being investigated for the role they may play in the protection against cancer

The all-time family favourite sweetcorn is still available and is great either on the cob as a side dish or off the cob which if combined with tomato and onion makes a tasty salsa that goes with just about anything.

“Sweetcorn is also a great source of B vitamins necessary for metabolism,” says Bronwen. And, for the more daring family, Bronwen suggests baked and mashed eggplant for a wonderful dip or sliced as the base for a number of different dishes such as in Moussaka and parmigiana.

Whatever your tastes, this season’s fruit and vegetables are bound to cater.  Buying seasonally is a great way to help stay within budget and the inclusion of a wide variety of vegetables and fruit not only help extend meals but also provides the vitamins necessary for good health and well-being.

For more ideas about how to include this season’s heroes on the menu check out www.5aday.co.nz or http://www.vegetables.co.nz/.

About 5+ A Day®

5+ A Day was launched in New Zealand in 1994 by the non-profit organisation United Fresh NZ Inc. The objective of 5+ A Day is to encourage all New Zealanders to eat and enjoy eating five or more servings of fruit and vegetables everyday for health, taste and variety.

The primary focus of the programme is on our children and the 5 + A Day Charitable Trust produce a range of interactive teaching resources for primary schools and early childhood centres.

Go to www.5aday.co.nz for more information. United Fresh is part of the Fruit in Schools implementation group and manages the supply and distribution of the fruit to around 482 schools across New Zealand.

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