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Getting your five a day can be easy

WE all know that a balanced diet is important to ensure we are getting the required vitamins and nutrients, but it can be a challenge to get the balance right on a daily basis.

To help you, I have created a weekly meal planner, which is packed with delicious, healthy recipes and can be viewed on www.flora-womensminimarathon.ie

Below are some tips to help sustain you for your training and ensure all the family is getting the nutrients they need.

* Plan meals and snacks Think about what foods will provide the maximum nutritional value.

Processed foods and some snack foods can be high in fat, salt and sugar.

Small changes, such as replacing butter with low-fat spreads such as Flora, will have a significant impact on weekly fat intake.

* Eat more fish

It is recommended we eat three portions of fish a week, including at least one portion of oily fish.

Look out for bargains in the supermarket which you can freeze.

Also, frozen or tinned fish such as salmon, mackerel and sardines can be just as nutritious and convenient.

* Five a-day

We all know how important it is to aim for five portions of fruit and veg a day.

If you find you have some leftover fruit that is going soft, put it in the blender with some milk or yoghurt for a healthy smoothie.

Add leftover veg to soups, curries and casseroles.

Aim for three good portions of vegetables and two of fruit per day.

* Meat-free at once a week

Pulses and lentils can cost less than meat and are a source of protein. Buy varieties that are canned in water and simply add them to casseroles and stews.