For many of us, eating 5 fruit and veg a day simply doesn’t happen. In fact, research suggests 70% of the UK population eat fewer than 5 portions of fruit and veg a day! This means there’s a lot of bodies out there not getting the required amount of vitamins and minerals to promote long-term health and well-being.
Despite this, getting your 5 a day is not as tricky as you might think. Fruit and vegetables don’t have to be fresh to count as a portion, and they can be eaten on their own or as part of a meal. You can even get a good portion (or 2) from natural juices too.
Keep reading for more 5 a day tips, and how to get the whole family eating healthier.
What Counts As 5 A Day?
Both adults and children should be aiming for 5 portions of fruit and veg a day, but these will vary in terms of size. According to the NHS, an adult portion should be around 80g. For kids, 1 portion should roughly fit in the palm of their hand.
For a better idea of what counts towards your 5 a day, here’s a rough guide to portion sizes:
|A Single Portion||Examples|
|Small-sized fresh fruit||2 or more||2 Plums, 2 satsumas, 7 strawberries|
|Medium-sized fresh fruit||1 piece||1 banana, 1 apple, 1 pear|
|Large fresh fruit||Half or less||Half a grapefruit, 1 slice of melon, 2 slices of mango|
|Cooked vegetables||Cooked vegetables||Carrots, peas, sweetcorn|
|Salad vegetables||Handful||5cm piece of cucumber, one medium tomato, 3 celery sticks|
|Tinned & frozen veg||Same as fresh portion||3 heaped tbsp of carrots, peas, or sweetcorn|
|Pulses & beans||3 heaped tbps||Kidney beans, butter beans, chickpeas|
|Juices||1 glass (around 150ml)||150ml of V8 Original|
You may have noticed that potatoes aren’t featured above, and that’s
because they don’t actually count towards your 5 a day. Although they are grown like other vegetables, potatoes are nutritionally a starchy food, which means they fall into the same category as pasta and rice rather than veg.
Getting Your 5 A Day
Hopefully the table makes it clear just how easy it is to get more 5 a day portions in your diet. Simple changes to your daily meals and snacks can make a big difference. Here’s our guide to getting 5 a day the easy way – every day!
• Add a handful of dried, tinned or fresh fruit to your cereal or porridge
• Drink a glass of V8 Original
• Tuck into some natural yoghurt topped with fresh berries
• Add tomatoes or mushrooms to a cooked breakfast
• Whizz up your favourite fruits and veggies in a blender to make a smoothie
• Tuck into a vegetable or tomato soup
• Make a fresh salad using tomatoes, cucumber, pepper, sweetcorn, lettuce and avocado
• Add lettuce or cucumber to your sandwiches
• Add a portion of beans and pulses to fresh salads and soups
• Fresh berries and yoghurt
• Chopped apple and peanut butter oatcakes
• 1 banana
• Chopped up raw vegetables (crudités) with hummus
• Homemade fruity breakfast bars
• Add a portion of beans or lentils to a homemade curry or chilli
• Bulk up a Bolognese with fresh vegetables such as onion, courgette and mushrooms
• Prepare a salad or vegetable side dish with your main meal
• Have fruit for dessert
• Plan your dinners around your vegetables
• Choose a vegetarian option such as V8’s Hearty Vegetarian Chilli
5 A Day For Kids
5 a day for children is slightly different compared to the standards set for adults, but the same principles still apply – eating at least 5 different portions of fruit and veg is essential for supporting good health and well-being.
Worryingly, research suggests more than half of children (52 in every 100 kids) don’t eat a single portion of vegetables a day, whilst 44 in 100 have no fruit on a daily basis! With 1 in 3 kids in the UK classified as obese or overweight, it’s a growing concern that fatty and sugary foods such as sweets, chocolate and takeaways are replacing healthy foods in children’s diets.
Unfortunately, with the majority of young children being picky eaters, getting them to eat their 5 a day may be tricky. If you’re a parent you may find it a constant struggle trying to get your kids to eat more fruit and veg, but the most important thing is to set a good example and make sure all your meals together are as healthy as possible. You can also consider swapping certain snacks for healthier options, such as a fresh berries, crudités and hummus, a glass of V8 juice or a tub of yoghurt.
Read more on our 5 A Day For Kids page.