GEN Fresh fruits berries and cereal breakfast

Breakfast will be the target of a new 5+ A Day campaign this year to help New Zealanders up their daily fruit and vegetable intake, after research showed not enough people are kick-starting their day with fresh produce.

5+ A Day Charitable Trust project manager Carmel Ireland said most New Zealanders know they’re supposed to eat at least five servings of fresh fruit and vegetables every day yet 44 per cent of people who do eat breakfast don’t include any in this meal.

A new nationwide survey of 1,000 people showed that 82 per cent of New Zealanders ate breakfast on weekdays, rising to 85 per cent on the weekend.

Interestingly, those aged 60+ who regularly eat breakfast on weekdays are much more likely to consume fresh fruit or vegetables at that time of day (67 per cent) compared to their younger counterparts, suggesting that time could be a factor as people rush out the door to work or school.

“Based on this research, we believe that breakfast may provide the greatest opportunity to increase the amount of fresh fruit and vegetables in our diets,” Ireland explained. “It really doesn’t take long to add a handful of berries or some sliced fruit to your cereal, so this year 5+ A Day will be encouraging Kiwis to start their 5+ at breakfast by providing lots of fresh and easy breakfast inspiration.”

According to 2018/19 Ministry of Health data, only 53 per cent of New Zealanders are consuming the recommended daily intake of vegetables and 51.5 per cent are eating enough fruit.

The Ministry of Health recommends people eat three or more servings of vegetables and two pieces of fruit every day.

“Breakfast is an ideal time to eat healthy foods and start your day on the right foot,' Ireland continued. 'Consuming fruit and vegetables at breakfast will super-charge your day – you’ll be more mentally alert, have plenty of physical energy and will feel fuller for longer, especially if you include healthy fats such as avocado. One serving is about a handful so will vary depending on the size of an individual. Kids’ servings are smaller than adults.”

Ireland recommended eating what is in season to ensure the best value and nutrition.

“There’s a wonderful variety of fresh produce available all year round. In New Zealand we have an excellent climate and soil for growing fruit and vegetables, so we’re spoilt for choice,' she added. “When you start at breakfast, it’s easy to get your recommended five or more servings by the end of the day. We’d love to see more New Zealanders look at their breakfast habits in 2020 and see where there’s room to improve.”