Weight management: can you count to nine?


When it comes to weight management: can you count to 9?

Sure you can!

Of course, the issue with eating 2, 5, 7 or 9 portions of fruit and veg a day isn’t the counting – it’s making space in your diet for these foods. Many people struggle because they forget it’s not just about eating more real food to satisfy appetites and suppress hunger cravings, it’s also about substituting and eating less processed food and snacks.

When it comes to taste and health, you can’t beat fruit and vegetables. Portable and pre-packaged, they can be eaten raw and on the go. They are also highly versatile – dip them, slice them, crunch them and cook them in endless ways.

So, if you can count to 9, check out the 9 tips below on how to eat your 9 a day.

For the faint hearted, let’s first count out 4 common objections


OBJECTION 1 – ‘Real food takes too long to prepare!’

Nonsense – Microwave vegetables, buy pre-cut, use frozen or canned (in natural, unsweetened juice).

OBJECTION 2 -‘Fruit and veg are too expensive!’

Buy smart – choose fruit and vegetables that are in season, buy canned (in natural, unsweetened juice) or frozen. Canned or frozen can be just as nutritious as fresh. In fact, they may even have more nutrients than fresh products that have been in transit or sitting for a week or more. Shop in Farmer’s Markets, buy dried beans, lentils and pulses, which can be substituted in dishes to replace expensive meats, while fruit in season is cheaper than expensive snacks.

OBJECTION 3 – ‘It’s boring to eat the same again and again!’

Just try a new fruit or vegetable each week! There are over 100 different fruits and vegetables in the fresh section and over 40 in the freezer and canned sections – free those taste buds from processed purgatory!

OBJECTION 4 – ‘Fruit and Veg always go off before I use them up!’

Buy only enough for three or four days – less in hot weather. Store products (except bananas) in the fridge.


9 top tips on how to eat 9 a day!


  1. Eat fruit or vegetables for breakfast
  2. Keep fruit and veg within easy reach for snacks – for example keep nuts/dried fruit in your desk drawer
  3. If you work in an office, bring in lunch bags of raisins and fruit from home
  4. Eat fruit for dessert in restaurants
  5. Order lettuce, cucumber and tomato on your sandwich
  6. Choose starters and main meals with vegetables like stews and stir-fries
  7. Replace chips with salad
  8. Have a vegetable soup for lunch
  9. Add extra veggies to your cooking rather than more meat or refined carbohydrates such as white pasta or white rice

These are 9 simple rules to help you reach that daily number 9. Don’t worry if you are stuck at 1 or 2. Follow just a couple of these simple suggestions and you will soon be north of 6 a day, heading higher. And of course, you don’t need to stop at 9, if you see double figures beckoning!

Go on – give it a go – weight is the only thing you might lose – and you only thing you won’t gain!


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Iris is the founder of No Targets Just Routine. She has researched food since 2009 and believes “Happiness is real food shared with loved ones.”

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