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Five a day fruit and vegetables. How much is equal to one portion or daily serving?

Updated on October 1, 2014

Eating at least five a day fruits and vegetables as part of a healthy diet.

photo: a fruit and vegetable market stall.
photo: a fruit and vegetable market stall. | Source

Five portions a day of Fruit and Vegetables?

What is eating five a day about ?

It is an attempt to make people have a healthy or healthier diet. However some experts say eating five portions of fruit and vegetables a day is not enough.

  • What counts as five portions of fruit and vegetables?
  • How can you work out how much of each you need to eat?

Read on for help with understanding how to get the above questions answered and how to work it out to get it right.

Five a Day:

  • This usually refers to the amount of fruit and vegetables we are recommended to eat daily for a healthy diet.
  • This recommendation for a diet that includes 5 daily portions of fruit and vegetables is the one used in the UK.
  • In some other countries they set the target for the amount of fruit and vegetables needed in the daily diet at a higher in take.

But how much fruit and vegetables is five portions a day?

Fruit and vegetable portion sizes are explained here in an easy to understand way.

Why is the amount suggested 5 a day ?

The suggested five a day ( in the U.K.) is meant to be a minimum quantity of fruit and vegetables eaten in the daily diet. In other countries the amount of fruit and vegetables recommended to be eaten in one day is higher and it may be wise to try to optimise your diet to take this into account.

  • It is a good idea to try to eat a selection of different fruit and vegetables as then you will be getting a wider range of vitamins, minerals, nutrients and fibre.

Why were 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day recommended ?

This advice was put forward because research showed people were not eating enough fruit and vegetables to make their daily diet a healthy one.

  • The recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables a day – was introduced to try to encourage people to eat a healthier diet to cut their health risks in the future.

How can you work out what a portion of fruit or vegetables is and what a recommended portion of fruit or vegetables looks like?

Eating your recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables a day is easier if you know what a portion/quantity of a particular fruit or vegetable looks like.

Sometimes there is an easy to understand concepts like this and here are some guidelines:

A simple guide to what equals one portion of fruit and one portion of vegetables...

Here is a simple list of what equals one - Portion of Fruit.

1 portion of fruit is equal to these quantities:

Cherries = 14 cherries

Apples = one medium apple.

Strawberries = 7 strawberries.

Tiny fruits such as raspberries, strawberries, grapes = 1 cup full

Small fruits such as plums and apricots = 2 small fruits

Medium fruits - apple, orange, banana or pear = one of these fruits

Large fruit = 1 slice of melon or pineapple.

What is considered as a portion of salad for five a day guide lines?

  • A Portion of Salad: Salad one desert bowl is equal to one portion of salad.

What is considered a portion of vegetables for the eat five portions a day ?

  • A Portion of Vegetables:

A rough guide is 2-3 tablespoons are equal to one portion of vegetables.

What counts towards five a day which types of fruits products.

The good news is that fresh fruit, frozen fruit ,chilled fruit,canned fruit,100% unsweetened juice and dried fruit all count.

However it is a good idea to consider that if you eat a portion of fruit say as an apple it will be more beneficial to you than if you turn it into an apple juice drink. Why?

Because the fresh apple you eat increases the fibre in your diet and the glass of apple juice does not.

It will also help to go towards filling you up and that might save you from snacking on unsuitable foods before the next mealtime.

Peas can be eaten freshly picked or cooked.

Photo: peas growing in the garden.
Photo: peas growing in the garden. | Source

An example of how to include five-a-day into your daily meals...

An example five-a-day could be:

  1. The glass of fresh orange juice or a smoothie that you have for your for breakfast could count as the first portion.

  2. Then the small pack of dried apricots you ate for your mid-morning snack could be the next portion

  3. The side salad you ate in a restaurant or in your lunch box at lunch time lunch could be the next portion.

  4. If you then ate peas and broccoli with main meal they could equal one portion.

  5. Then the fresh tasty strawberries you had as dessert would also be a portion.

    Try to keep in mind the natural sugars that give the sweetness to some fruits and try use a good percentage of vegetables as part of the daily diet. Fruit drinks can be bad for your teeth and some fruits are naturally acidic and can affect tooth enamel. Decision making about diet changes can be complicated and you might want to talk to a health professional.

 Photo: fruit - a raspberry.
Photo: fruit - a raspberry.

Five Fruit and Vegetables a Day ....Tips to help...

Try keeping a bowl full of fruits on your kitchen counter or a prepared box of salad or fruit salad in your fridge for snacks.

Salad vegetables
A portion guide of salad vegetables is:

3 sticks of celery, 5cm piece of cucumber, one medium tomato or 7 cherry tomatoes.

A serving of vegetables, such as frozen or mushy peas, boiled carrots or stir-fried broccoli would be roughly 80g.

Dried fruit a portion is around 30g. which is about

one heaped tablespoon of raisins, currants or sultanas,

one tablespoon of mixed fruit, two figs, three prunes

or a handful of dried banana chips.

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.

A glass of fruit or vegetable juice is one portion

As is a small tin roughly 200g of fruit

Potatoes- sorry potatoes do not count towards your five portions a day. Potatoes are classed as starchy foods.

Salad Leaves are easy to grow.

Photo: a bowl of freshly picked salad leaves.
Photo: a bowl of freshly picked salad leaves. | Source

Trying to get to like fruit if you are not a fruit eater.

Ideas to increase the amount of fruit you eat in a day.

Eating healthy food is more a habit and way of thinking about food than we might think. If you find the taste of fruit or vegetables not to your liking there are ways you can slowly introduce them to your meal times. If you make subtle changes to the food that you serve over time you can make the meals healthy and tastier and reduce the amount of sugars and fats in the meals too.

If someone really hates the taste of fruit or vegetables it is pointless to try to bully them into trying them. Instead help them with the challenge of trying new foods and showing patience if they struggle with the concept. However sometimes people do need a 'wake up call' about how unhealthy they might become if they continue to neglect their health when it comes to selecting what to eat for meals and snacks.

The best way to introduce new foods to older children and adults who are averse to fruits and vegetables is to let them find a way that helps them to find a way of reducing or altering the 'aspect' of the food that they find distasteful, this might mean they think they hate the texture or small of fruit most, OK then, find a way to disguise it for them.

This might mean introducing a jelly flavored with a fruit taste or puree a fruit or mashing it down or cutting it up into very small cubes, whatever works for them at least they are making a start on the journey to eating fruit. If someone loves chocolate they might try dipping fruit pieces into chocolate that you have melted for them until they get use to the fruit flavor and texture and can try eating it without the chocolate.

Strawberries can be served fresh or easily made into tempting smoothies and desserts.

Strawberries are a versatile fruit.
Strawberries are a versatile fruit.

Easy ideas, tips to get a child to try fruit

If your child is reluctant to try fruit and the problem seems to be mainly to do with the texture of the food, you could try to tempt them with fruit smoothies. Or if they like lollipops, then freeze the fruit smoothie mix down into lollipops to make them into a more tempting version. Once the child becomes use to the flavours of the fruits they may be willing to taste the 'real thing'.

You could freeze fruit juice down to make a more juicy type ice lolly or even make it into 'ice cube' size portion.

Banana or carrot cake may be useful for introducing new tastes to a child who likes cakes, these could be made into individual cupcake size cakes for the child.

If the child likes jam sandwiches or jam on toast try making fruit compote for them as it is healthier, there is a link here for a recipe. You can add fruit compote to a bowl of breakfast cereals.

If a child likes pasta making your own pasta sauce with tomatoes. You can use fresh or tinned  tomatoes and this will give a healthy version of pasta sauce as you can control the amount of salt.

Red Currants and other berries can be cooked up as fruit sauces and added to desserts to increase fruit in the diet.

Photo of mixed summer fruits - red currants,blackcurrants and white currants.
Photo of mixed summer fruits - red currants,blackcurrants and white currants. | Source

Fresh Vegetables such as carrots are good for your health

Photo:  carrots  grown and photographed by 2uesday
Photo: carrots grown and photographed by 2uesday | Source

Soups can be made easily and simply from vegetables.

Vegetable soup can be cooked in a slow cooker/crock pot.
Vegetable soup can be cooked in a slow cooker/crock pot. | Source

Not Just 5 a Day.

It is worth remembering that the '5 a day' recommendation is a figure promoted in the UK to encourage a healthier eating lifestyle.

Research and trends in current thinking about what is a healthy diet can change over time.

What is advised as a minimum daily intake of fruit and vegetables varies from country to country.

Sensible eating is essential as well as having the right amount of fruit and vegetables in your diet.


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    • 2uesday profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      Thank you D.A.L. sorry I did not reply sooner, I have been on my travels.

      Thank you ellahall2011 I too enjoy fresh fruit and salads especially in the summer time.

    • ellahall2011 profile image


      7 years ago

      This is great article, I love fruits.

    • D.A.L. profile image


      7 years ago from Lancashire north west England

      2uesday well done for producing another informative hub with great pics of your produce. Best wishes and good health to you.

    • 2uesday profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      Thank you jamterrell for your comment here.

    • jamterrell profile image


      7 years ago

      Very informative hub.

    • 2uesday profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Thank you adrienne for reading and leaving a comment. i am pleased you liked this.

    • adrienne2 profile image

      Adrienne F Manson 

      8 years ago from Atlanta

      very informative hub, great presentation as well. thanks for sharing.

    • 2uesday profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      itakins you made me laugh imagining 12 mandarins a day or eight apples. The fruit shop must have sent you a basket of fruit as a present at the end of the nine months.

      I like summer fruits best, but cook with lots of veg. sweet potatoes are nice and I like roast parsnip. Thanks for the message here.

    • itakins profile image


      8 years ago from Irl


      Great hub-I love fruit and veg-especially apples.WhenI was pregnant I used to eat(obsessively)up to 12 mandarin oranges a day complete with skins!Another one was 8 cox's pippin apples.My poor husband was afraid to come home without them,in case I ran short.

    • 2uesday profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Thanks Izzy, apart from the Italian fruit stall all of the foods in the photos are home grown. I have a container of salad growing in the garden in the spring and summer - I am missing all of these at the moment as it is still snowing and I cannot garden.

      Thanks Micky for leaving a comment and reading.

    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 

      8 years ago

      Great message and hub. Thanks again!

    • IzzyM profile image


      8 years ago from UK

      Makes me hungry just reading this, and peas in the pod fresh from the garden are my favourite food of all time!

    • 2uesday profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      hi timorous, this 5 a day has been promoted for a quite while in the UK.

      It is lower than the recommendations in many other countries and some people here are not aware that it is the

      minium suggested intake for fruit and vegetables. It has been suggested in news reports that some people struggle to combine five a day into their daily diets. I thought if I could put the information into a less 'formal' format it might be easier to visualise the quantities.

      I find an easy way to boost our in take in winter is to add vegetables to the the main dish I am cooking for the day such as adding yellow peppers and carrots in casseroles. Once the spring is here I grow salads and the fruit I pick goes into make compote as well as eaten fresh so it is easy.Thank you for reading and leaving a helpful comment.

    • timorous profile image

      Tim Nichol 

      8 years ago from Me to You

      Hi 2useday;

      Nice, concise hub;

      My estimation of a vegetable serving is what would fill at least 1/2 to 3/4 cup (if cut up). Same for fruit. A salad, about 1 to 1.5 cups total.

      The recommendations I've come across usually suggest 2 fruits and 3 veg. daily. This is of course the miniumum suggestion.


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