The immune supporting powers of vitamin D have really hit home since the outbreak, with Google trends reporting a big increase in searches for ‘vitamin D & Covid’. Almost a quarter (23%) of Brits are now eating more fruit and vegetables in an effort to reach their five-a-day, according to a Mintel survey, as 80% of consumers are now adopting a “food as medicine” approach to eating, according to Nielsen, in response to the global health crisis.
At the forefront of the trend is M&S, who is the only retailer on the high street to enrich all its bread, rolls and sandwiches. This new year, M&S Food has joined forces with Dr Rupy Aujla to help families increase their vitamin intake – through food rather than supplements – as the retailer launches its largest ever range of Eat Well* products, and offers 3 great quality healthy meals for just £10.
Dr Rupy is an NHS Doctor and passionate advocate for using food and lifestyle change as medicine. His philosophy is to use flavour and celebrate our cultural diversity with food, to make healthy lifestyles enjoyable and accessible to everyone.
Why is it better to eat our vitamins?
“Vitamin pills are the processed version of nutritious ingredients,” explains Dr Rupy Aujla.
“They are often high doses of singular molecules, stripped away from other beneficial compounds. Whole foods, like cabbage, broccoli or other dark green leafy vegetables, not only contain high amounts of specific vitamins (like vitamin C and K), but also multiple types of fibre and the many other plant chemicals that make consuming vegetables so beneficial for health.”
The good news is, M&S has made that easy too. It may be famous for its Colin the Caterpillar Cake and restaurant cuisine, but a huge 40% of its food sales is for products in its Eat Well range.
Eat Well is a set of nutritional guidelines, developed with guidance from the British Nutrition Foundation, to ensure that every product with an Eat Well logo conforms to nutrition and health claims regulations. Exclusive to M&S, the yellow sunflower assures customers the product is a healthy choice.
When shopping in M&S Foodhalls, you’ll now see sources of nutrients clearly signposted across healthy Eat Well products and ranges, as well as tips on how to get multivitamins on your plate, helping you discover amazing new vitamin-rich products, from prepared meals to delicious veggies juices and snacks.
“Eating a range of ingredients provides the orchestra of nutrition that we need to thrive,” confirms Dr Rupy. “Variety is king, and diversifying what you eat on a weekly basis is one of the best health strategies I could recommend.”
So what’s the best way to ensure our diet contains enough vitamins and minerals?
“Having a largely plant based diet with lots of COLOUR guarantees a great mix of nutrient dense ingredients,” says Dr Rupy. “Varying your diet nurtures your gut microbes which will lead to better absorption of nutrients from food.
“Diversify your plate with a variety of raw and cooked vegetables,” he suggests.
Thankfully, eating nutritiously can be exciting and delicious and doesn’t need to be expensive or time consuming.
“Not all foods have to be fresh,” points out Dr Rupy. “Tinned and frozen fish, tomatoes, fruit are brilliant. The most incredible, nutrient-dense ingredients we all have access to are often the cheapest on the shelf.
“Experimenting with new vegetables on a weekly basis and trying what’s in season with new recipes is a fantastic strategy.”
Thanks to M&S Food, there’s no need to tie yourself in knots analysing the ingredients – all you need to do is look for the Eat Well sunflower.
Five of our favourite new M&S Food Eat Well products
The Buddha Bowl, Smoky Chipotle Chicken and Thai Red Chicken Curry are all available in the 3 for £10 offer.
Buddha Bowl* £3.50, 400g with black rice, mushrooms, butternut squash, kale and turmeric, this delicious bowl of goodness contains a source of protein, low in salt and saturated fat, source of fibre and each bowl gives you with two of your five-a-day.
Smoky Chipotle Chicken £4, 380g delicious smoky chipotle spiced chicken with roasted butternut and wholegrain rice, turtle beans and chickpeas, also high in protein and one of your five-a-day
Plant Kitchen No Beef Meatballs £3.50, 276ml bursting with flavour, soya protein mixed with roasted garlic and seasoned with oregano and basil
Get Up & Glow Pure Gold Pressed £2.50, 250ml – a delicious cocktail of carrot, orange, passion fruit and turmeric. One of your five a day, and a good hit of Vitamin C.
BBQ Chicken Cobb £5.50. Marinated chicken, sweetcorn, boiled egg and roasted spiced almond salad with soured cream, garlic and chive dressing.
Are you eating enough vitamins?
Here is M&S Nutritionist Laura Street’s top tips on how to boost the nutrient-density of your plate
Simply sprinkle a handful of pumpkin seeds on your soup or salad for a delicious way to add a source protein, vitamin E, magnesium, phosphorous, manganese and selenium.
One red pepper is all the vitamin C you need to meet your daily need for vitamin C.
Hail the Kale*! Add a couple of handfuls of kale, to salads, soups or a curry to top up your vitamins A, C and K to support your skin, vision and bone health.
Let the sunshine in. M&S Food’s vitamin D enriched mushrooms and bread are an easy way to top up your vitamin intake during the winter months.
M&S’s Bran Flakes are Remarksable value and fortified with vitamin B1,B2, B3, B5, B6, B12, iron and folic acid – a great way to start your day.
Ask the nutritionist
Got a burning question on health or nutrition and want a professional opinion? Ask M&S’s in-house experts here.
*Enjoy Eat Well products as part of a healthy lifestyle and balanced, varied diet. If you are concerned about your diet or any health concerns please consult your doctor or health care professional. Supplements may be required for a variety of health needs and at particular life stages for 6months-4yr olds, pregnant and breastfeeding women and the elderly. Vitamin D levels in this country are low and therefore government advice is that we all take a supplement of 10µg of vitamin D a day.
*Buddha bowl: 100g Buddha Bowl >12% energy from protein which contributes towards the maintenance of muscle mass
*100g Kale >30% RI vitamin C which contributes to normal collagen formation for the normal function of skin, >30% vitamin A contributes to the maintenance of normal vision & >30% vitamin K which contributes to the normal maintenance of bones.