Fruit and vegetables
Most of us should eat more foods from this group!
- These should make up approximately one third of your total daily food intake.
- Try to include some at every meal and also for snacks.
- Choose a wide variety of fruits and vegetables as they all have different proportions of vitamins and minerals that help to keep us healthy.
- Experiment with fruits and vegetables that are in season – there are lots of interesting recipes available.
- Fresh, frozen, tinned and dried fruit and vegetables.
- Fruit and vegetables cooked in dishes such as soups, stews or pasta dishes, or present in ready meals and shop bought sauces, soups and puddings.
- A glass (150ml) of unsweetened 100% fruit or vegetable juice. Juice counts as a maximum of one portion a day, however much you drink, mainly because juice contains less fibre than whole fruits and vegetables.
- Smoothies containing at least 80g of pulped fruit and/or vegetables and 150ml juice can count as up to a maximum of two portions per day.
- Beans and pulses - these only count as one portion a day no matter how many you eat as they don't contain the same mixture of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients as fruit and vegetables. However, they do provide a low-fat source of protein as well as iron and dietary fibre, so they also count towards the ‘meat and alternatives’ group
What is a portion?
Two or more small fruits such as plums, satsumas, kiwi fruit or apricots.A portion of fruit or vegetables is 80g. This is around:
- One medium sized piece of fruit such as a banana, apple, pear, orange or nectarine.
- A large handful of berries, cherries or grapes.
- One heaped tablespoon of dried fruit such as raisins, cranberries or sultanas (you only need 30g of dried fruit because the portion size is based on the weight of the fresh fruit )
- One dessert bowl of salad.
- Three heaped tablespoons of vegetables or pulses (beans, lentils, chick peas).
- 150 ml glass of 100% fruit or vegetable juice counts as a maximum of one portion of your 5-A-DAY.
A smoothie usually counts as one portion, but some smoothies on the market can count as more than one portion if they contain:
- 150ml of 100% fruit juice and at least 80g crushed or pulped fruit or vegetable, or
- at least 80g of one variety of whole fruit and/or vegetable and at least 80g of another variety of whole fruit and/or vegetable
Increasing your intake of fruits and vegetables: eat your 5-A-DAY!
- Add fresh, tinned or dried fruit to your breakfast cereal, porridge or to a portion of yogurt.
- Try replacing your usual snack with vegetable sticks like carrot, cucumber or celery.
- Have a piece of fruit as an on-the-go snack.
- Have a side salad with your main meal or add salad to your sandwiches. Avoid high fat dressings.
- Add plenty of vegetables to soups, stews, curries, pasta, and rice dishes.
- Adding beans and lentils to these types of foods is another way to add extra fibre and a range of nutrients to your diet.
- Add extra vegetables (or fruit) to a thin based pizza - try mushrooms, peppers, onions, tomatoes, pineapple or sweetcorn.
- Have a side of vegetables with your main meal - peas, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and cabbage are great with a roast dinner, shepherd’s pie or stew.
- Try adding other vegetables like peas, carrots, spring onion, sweet potato or swede to your mashed potatoes.
BNF have developed a resource that can be downloaded, see attachment below.
Last reviewed February 2014. Next review due February 2017.
- © British Nutrition Foundation 2014