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5-a-day: Eating enough fruit and veg

More people than ever are now aware of the importance of eating more fruit and vegetables. Yet most of us are still not eating enough!

Why 5-a-day?

image of woman preparing fruit and vegetables

Eating a wide variety of fruit and vegetables a day can make a significant contribution towards your overall health. As well as being low in fat, looking and tasting great, fruits and vegetables are packed with essential vitamins, minerals, fibre and ‘phytochemicals’- naturally occurring plant substances that are vital for good health. It’ll maintain a healthy weight, aid digestion, boost your immune system and even reduce your risk of developing a number of cancers and heart disease.

What is a portion?

A portion is equivalent to 80g (about 3 ounces).

Use the list below as a rough guide to one portion:

  • 1 medium sized fruit such as an apple, banana, pear or orange
  • A handful of raspberries, cherries or grapes
  • 3 heaped tablespoons of beans and pulses, such as kidney beans, butter beans, chickpeas and lentils
  • 1 tablespoon of dried fruit
  • 2-3 heaped tablespoons of cooked vegetables
  • A glass (150ml) of fruit juice, vegetable juice or smoothie

*Remember that potatoes don’t count as a portion because they’re a starchy

How can I fit the 5-a-day into my day?

Eat one or two portions with each meal, a glass of fruit juice or the occasional fruit snack in between meals.

Top tips

image of fruit and vegetables
  • Create a rainbow. A variety of colour not only gives a strong visual impact on your plate, but different coloured fruits and vegetables contain different vitamins and minerals your body needs to maintain good health.
  • Keep the cupboard well stocked. Keep a supply of frozen, canned, chilled and dried vegetables and fruits at home.
  • Buy fruits and vegetables in season for the best taste and value.
  • Healthy snacking. Add dried or fresh fruit to your breakfast cereals or grab a fruit smoothie.
  • Get creative. Make meals more nutritious by adding vegetables, beans or pulses to casseroles and stews, and fruit to desserts.
  • Read the label. Fruit and vegetables in convenience foods can count towards your 5 a day but many of these foods may be high in added sugar, salt and fat and should only be eaten in moderation.

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 1. World Cancer Research Fund.