How much is 5 a day? 

Exactly how much is one portion of fruit or vegetables? Dietitian Azmina Govindji explains

Try the 5 A DAY meal planner

Transcript of How much is 5 a day?

Fruit and veg are so rich in vitamins, minerals, fibre and they're low in fat,

but what's really interesting is that there's worldwide research to show

that eating five portions of fruit and veg a day

can help to reduce the incidence of diseases

such as cardiovascular disease and some cancers.

It's really important because what we have in our bodies are free radicals.

These are substances that cause inflammatory reactions in our body.

Fruit and vegetables are rich in what we call antioxidants

and research is showing that if you have 400g a day,

which is equivalent roughly to five portions of fruit and veg a day,

then you are protecting yourself against that free radical damage.

Each portion represents one serving or one portion of your five a day.

I don't know. I thought an apple was one portion.

I don't know, maybe... I honestly don't know, actually.

Take... No. I just eat two pieces of fruit a day.

And try and eat as much vegetables as possible.

I guess one cup of vegetables is one portion.

I don't know.

For example, one portion of your five a day

could be a banana or a pear,

an apple, an orange,

roughly a handful of grapes or cherries or strawberries.

When it comes to vegetables, beans and pulses count once a day,

so three tablespoons of any beans,

such as baked beans or chickpeas or kidney beans.

No matter how much you have, they will count once a day.

The reason for that is that they don't have quite the same range of nutrients

as the other fruits and vegetables.

A bowl of salad, for example,

or in terms of salad vegetables,

something like a five-centimetre stick of cucumber,

not quite a whole carrot there, an average tomato.

Other vegetables, around three tablespoons of any type of vegetable

will count towards your five a day, that would be one portion each,

and an average-sized glass of unsweetened fruit juice

again will count just once a day, no matter how much you drink,

because you have stripped the fruit of its natural fibre.

In terms of dried fruit also,

about a heaped tablespoon of any dried fruit counts,

and even canned fruit will count, three tablespoons.

Recently I've been eating five a day veg and fruit

because I've got two young children.

Obviously we're trying to give them a decent diet,

so it's made me think more.

I just try and dump as much into a stir-fry as possible.

Dinner's usually quite a vegetabley-type meal.

So probably two for dinner in the evening.

Lunchtime, try to get a salad.

In terms of snacks in the office,

it's really quite easy to have an apple or a pear in your desk drawer

or perhaps to take some dried fruit and have that on the way to work.

Or have a smoothie is another way if you've missed breakfast,

which I'm not advocating, but that's another way to try and have something.

I never used to, but now I find I've got an apple or a banana in my bag,

which I'm getting used to now,

so rather than go and get my customary Mars bar, I snack on that.

I'm probably eating better now than I did all my life, really.

If you're worried about trying to incorporate five a day into your diet,

just start with one more.

So look at what you're eating, add one more and gradually add another one.

It could be as simple as just taking a piece of fruit to work

or having some dried fruit in your desk next to you

or having some salad with your sandwich at lunchtime.


How helpful is this page?

Average rating

Based on 20 ratings

All ratings

9  ratings
7  ratings
0  ratings
1  ratings
3  ratings

Add your rating

5 A Day on the run

Juggling a hectic work schedule and a busy social life? Fitting in 5 A Day is easier than you think

The Eatwell Guide (interactive)

If you want to get the balance of your diet right, use the Eatwell Guide. It shows you how much you should eat from each food group

Healthy eating

Information on how to achieve a balanced diet, tips to help you get your 5 A Day, plus advice for vegetarians