Fruits and vegetables are an excellent source of vitamins, minerals and fiber and are an important part of a balanced diet for children and adults alike.
Eating lots of fruits and vegetables helps keep us healthy and can reduce the risk of disease and some cancers.
Here you'll find everything you need to know about 5 A Day for the whole family.
What counts in 5 A Day and what doesn't?
Almost every type of fresh, frozen, canned, and dried fruit and vegetable imaginable counts towards your 5 a day.
Likewise, fruits or vegetables in ready-to-eat meals or store-bought sauces. However, always check the packaging and watch for high levels of salt, fat and sugar - or use themNHS Food Scanner-Appto quickly find healthier trades.
But some things you might not expect really count, really count, and some things you hope (or hope) really count, don't - see, Potatoes!
Here's a quick guide to some of the things people ask the most.
does not count
More than 1 serving of juice or smoothie per day
More than 1 serving of beans or legumes per day
Counts as 5 per day
100% unsweetened fruit juices, vegetable juices and shakes – maximum 150 ml, once a day
Onion, leek and chives(Video) Meal Prepping SIX Healthy Meals for our Family of 12
Peas and Sweet Corn
Tomato Puree - 1 tablespoon is 1 serving
Beans or spaghetti rings in tomato sauce – choose versions with less salt and sugar
Chickpeas, lentils and beans
Olives - but they can be high in salt
Canned fruits and vegetables, such as pineapple or corn — choose natural juice or water versions
Frozen fruits and vegetables, such as berries, peas or spinach
Nuts (30g is 1 serving) – but they stick to your teeth so keep them with meals
Ready-made salads - choose dressings with less salt, fat and sugar
Prepared soups and sauces – but they can be high in salt, fat and sugar, so check the label
Fruits and vegetables found in other foods and convenience products, even if they are present in small amounts, still count towards your 5 A Day.
For example, chickpeas in hummus and falafel, fruits in fruit yogurts, lentils in dhal, and vegetables in guacamole and salsa.
However, these foods can be high in fat, salt and sugar, so always check the label - or use itNHS Food Scanner-Apphealthier options that are easy to find.
Why potatoes don't count
Potatoes and other starchy foods such as sweet potatoes, cassava and bananas are normally eaten as a carbohydrate portion of a meal such as rice, pasta or bread.
They're a great source of fiber and nutrients, so they're still an important part of a balanced diet - they just don't count towards your 5 a day.
However, sweet potatoes, parsnips, turnips and turnips count!
Give the family a fruit and veg boost!
Our fruit and vegetable boosting plans can help you and the kids reach 5 a day. Enjoy 4 weekly emails filled with helpful hints, meal ideas, practical shopping tips and hints.
5 serving sizes per day
servings for adults
An adult serving of fresh, frozen or canned fruit or vegetables is 80g. For dried fruits, one serving is 30 g.
portions for children
Children should also eat 5 different types of fruits or vegetables a day, but serving size depends on their size and age.
As a rough guide, 1 serving of fruit or vegetables for a child is the amount that fits in the palm of your hand.
juice and smoothies
For 100% unsweetened fruit juices, vegetable juices and smoothies, 150ml is a maximum of 1 serving of your 5 A Day.
This means that juices and smoothies only count towards your 5 a day, no matter how much you eat or how many different fruits or vegetables they contain.
So limit yourself to 1 small glass (150ml) a day and keep juice or smoothies with meals as mixing will result in higher sugar levels which can cause cavities.
A total of 5 servings of fruits and vegetables together is the minimum number of servings to aim for.
You don't have to eat 5 servings of fruits and 5 servings of vegetables to get 5 servings a day - the more the merrier!
mix and match
You can also combine smaller amounts of fruits and vegetables in one serving.
For example, a large handful of lettuce on a sandwich plus 4 cherry tomatoes and 4 sliced cucumbers would count as 1 serving of 5 per day.
How much is 80 g of fruits and vegetables?
Of course, we don't always have kitchen scales on hand, so it's useful to know what a portion looks like. This is a rough guide to help you.
For canned and frozen fruits and vegetables, one serving is the same amount as fresh. Remember to choose natural juice or water versions.
An adult serving of small fruits is approximately:
- 1 handful of grapes
- 2 plums
- 2 Satsumas
- 2 kiwis
- 3 apricots
- 6 lychees
- 7 strawberries
- 14 cherries
- 20 raspberries
medium size fruit
An adult serving of medium-sized fruit is approximately:
- half avocado
- 1 apple
- 1 banana
- 1 Stage Orange Nectarine
- 1 pear
An adult serving of large fruits is approximately:
- half grapefruit
- a slice of melon 5 cm thick
- 1 slice of watermelon
- 1 large slice of pineapple
- 1 piece of papaya
- 2 mango slices (5cm slices)
A serving of dried fruit for adults is 30g, which is equivalent to about 1 heaping tablespoon:
- currants or sultanas
- 2 figs
- 3 plums
- 1 handful of dried banana chips
Dried fruits can stick to the teeth and therefore should only be consumed with meals to reduce the risk of tooth decay.
An adult serving of cooked vegetables is 3 heaping tablespoons of:
- sliced carrots
- mixed vegetables
- a third of eggplant
- half pepper
- 1 medium onion
- 1 medium-sized sweet potato
- 8 cauliflower bouquets
One serving of green vegetables for adults is 4 heaping tablespoons of:
- Green Spring
- Green cabbage
- half a large zucchini
- 2 heaping tablespoons of cooked spinach
- 2 stalks or 8 bunches of broccoli
- 5 asparagus spears
- 9 okra middle fingers
save the salad
One grown serving of green salad is:
- 1 medium tomato or 7 cherry tomatoes
- A 5 cm piece of cucumber
- 1.5 whole celery stalks
- 7 beetroot slices or 3 small whole beetroots
Or 1 bowl of cereal with:
- fresh spinach
- mixed salty
Baked beans, lentils or other legumes
An adult serving is 3 heaping tablespoons of beans or legumes such as:
- black-eyed peas or borlotti
- Red Beans (Cooked Beans)
- broad beans (broad beans)
- Black-eyed peas, mung, butter (Lima) or cannellini
- red, green, yellow, or brown lentils
- Chickpeas (chana or chickpeas)
Beans and legumes only count as 1 serving out of 5 a day, no matter how much or how many different types you eat.
Why Beans and Legumes Only Count Once a Day
Beans and legumes are high in good fiber and protein and have a different mix of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients than fruits and vegetables.
You can eat as many beans and legumes as you like, but they only count as 1 out of your 5 per day.
Green beans, like fava beans and green beans, are considered vegetables. This means you can eat them alongside other beans and vegetables, and they count as a different portion of your 5 A Day.
5 recipes per day
Packed with fruits and veggies, these recipes will get you on track for 5 a day.
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How does eating 5 A Day make you healthier? ›
5 reasons for eating 5 a day
They're an excellent source of dietary fibre, which can help to maintain a healthy gut and prevent constipation and other digestion problems. A diet high in fibre can also reduce your risk of bowel cancer. They can help to reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke and some types of cancer.
Fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables, one-quarter with whole grains, and one-quarter with protein such as fish, chicken, beans, or nuts.What are the 5 daily food groups? ›
As the MyPlate icon shows, the five food groups are Fruits, Vegetables, Grains, Protein Foods, and Dairy. The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans emphasizes the importance of an overall healthy eating pattern with all five groups as key building blocks, plus oils.Why is the 5 food group important? ›
Eating a variety of foods from the 5 major food groups provides a range of nutrients to the body, promotes good health and can help reduce the risk of disease - as well as keeping your diet interesting with different flavours and textures.Why should parents use 5 A Day? ›
Fruit and vegetables are a great source of vitamins, minerals and fibre, and an important part of a balanced diet for kids and adults. Eating plenty of fruit and veg helps keep us healthy, and may reduce the risk of disease and some cancers.What is the 5 A Day program? ›
Five A Day is changing the environment with programs that promote access to fruits and vegetables and that target people of all ages, schools, the community, industries, restaurants, churches, and work sites.