Almost all fruit and vegetables count towards your 5 A DAY. It is easier than you may think to get your recommended amount each day. Fruit and vegetables don’t have to be fresh to count as a portion. Nor do they have to be eaten on their own: they also count if they're part of a meal or dish. However, to get the most benefit from your five portions eat a wide variety of fruit and vegetables.
It can be difficult to assess how to count your 5 A DAY, especially when size of fruit differs and portion sizes vary. So what exactly counts as one of your five a day?
One portion of fruit is:
- Two or more small fruit (for example two plums, two satsumas, two kiwi fruit, three apricots, six lychees, seven strawberries or 14 cherries).
- One medium piece of fruit, such as one apple, banana, pear, orange, nectarine or sharon fruit.
- Half a large fruit, such as grapefruit, one slice of papaya, one slice of melon, one large slice of pineapple or two slices of mango.
- A 30g portion of dried fruit. This is about one heaped tablespoon of raisins, currants or sultanas, one tablespoon of mixed fruit, two figs, three prunes or one handful of dried banana chips.
- One portion of tinned fruit in natural juice (not syrup) is roughly the same quantity of fruit that you would eat for a fresh portion, such as two pear or peach halves, six apricot halves or eight segments of tinned grapefruit.
One portion of vegetables is:
- Green vegetables such as two broccoli spears or four heaped tablespoons of kale, spinach, spring greens or green beans.
- Three heaped tablespoons of cooked vegetables, such as carrots, peas or sweetcorn, or eight cauliflower florets.
- Salad vegetables such as three sticks of celery, a 5cm piece of cucumber, one medium tomato or seven cherry tomatoes.
- One portion of tinned or frozen vegetables is roughly the same quantity as you would eat for a fresh portion. For example, three heaped tablespoons of tinned or frozen carrots, peas or sweetcorn.
- Three heaped tablespoons of baked beans, haricot beans, kidney beans, cannellini beans, butter beans or chickpeas. However much you eat, beans and pulses count as a maximum of one portion a day.
- Potatoes don't count towards your 5 A DAY. They are classified nutritionally as a starchy food, because when eaten as part of a meal they are usually used in place of other sources of starch such as bread, rice or pasta. Although they don't count towards your 5 A DAY, potatoes do play an important role in your diet as a starchy food.
Juices and smoothies
- One 150ml glass of unsweetened 100% fruit or vegetable juice can count as a portion. But only one glass counts, further glasses of juice don’t count toward your total 5 A DAY portions.
- One smoothie containing all the edible pulped fruit or vegetable may count as more than one 5 A DAY portion, but this depends on the quantity of fruits or vegetables and/or juice used, as well as how the smoothie has been made. Smoothies count as a maximum of two of your 5 A DAY, however much you drink.
Fruit and vegetables contained in shop-bought ready-made foods can also count toward your 5 A DAY.
Children should also eat at least five portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables a day. The amount of food a child needs varies with age, body size and physical activity. As a rough guide, one portion is the amount they can fit in the palm of their hand.
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