Updated: Oct 3, 2021
The 5 a day campaign is based on research from the World Health Organisation which showed that consuming at least 400g of fruit and vegetables can significantly reduce the risk of developing serious health conditions including heart disease and certain cancers.
Fruit and vegetables are a rich source of vitamins and minerals and fibre and contribute towards a well-balanced diet, but do you know what counts as a portion?
A portion of fruit is roughly equivalent to:
1 apple, 1 small banana, 1 pear, 120g of grapes, 150g strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries, 2 plums, satsumas or similar sized fruit.
What about dried fruit?
Dried fruit is very concentrated in sugar because the water has been removed from the fruit. If you want to include dried fruit as one of your portions, then be careful with portion size as too much sugar can cause fluctuations in your blood sugar levels leading to fatigue and over-eating at other times in the day. 20g of dried fruit counts as a portion.
Do fruit juices and smoothies count?
Similarly to dried fruit, fruit juice can also be high in sugar because the fibrous part of the fruit has been removed. A 150ml glass of fruit juice counts as a portion. However, only 1 glass a day will count, if you have additional glasses then these will not count. Smoothies however might count as more than 1 portion. For example, if your smoothie contains 2 fruit portions or 1 portion of fruit and 1 portion of fruit juice then this would count as 2 portions.
A portion of vegetables (80g) is roughly equivalent to:
2-3 heaped tablespoons of any vegetable, 1 dessert bowl of salad, 200ml bowl of vegetable soup.
Do potatoes count?
Although potatoes are vegetables, they do not count towards your 5 a day because their main component is starch. Sweet potato and other root vegetables such as parsnips, swede and turnips however do count.
Are frozen vegetables okay?
Yes. Vegetables or fruit do not need to be fresh. Frozen, canned or tinned will all count.
Is it okay to eat 5 portions of the same fruit or vegetable?
To get a variety of different nutrients in your diet then you should try to eat a variety of different fruits and vegetables. Try to eat a rainbow of different coloured fruit and vegetables to get maximum benefits.