Week 3 - 5 a day
A healthy balanced diet includes fruit and vegetables which also contain a number of vitamins, minerals and fibre. Try to eat a variety of these and aim for at least 5 portions per day.
Most of us know fruit and vegetables are good for us but did you know why?
Fruit and vegetables give us a range of vitamins and minerals including fibre. It is beneficial to eat a variety of them.
- Fresh, canned, dried or frozen, fruit and vegetables counts as a portion towards your 5 a day.
- If you are having canned fruit and vegetables opt for those in water or natural juice, with no added salt or sugar.
- If you eat dried fruit, try to eat it at mealtimes to decrease the risk of tooth decay.
- There are certain portions where no matter how much you consume, they will only count once as part of your 5 a day:
- When it comes to fruit or vegetable juices or smoothies only 150ml will count towards your 5 a day. When fruit or vegetables are crushed into juice or smoothies the sugars in them become free sugars and we should aim to reduce our free sugar intake.
- Also, only one portion of beans and pulses will count towards your 5 a day.
- Did you know that potatoes, plantain, yams and cassava don’t count towards your 5 a day because they are classified as starchy foods.
What is a portion fruit and vegetables?
For children the quantity they eat will depend on their size and age. As a general guide one portion is the quantity they can fit in palm of their hand.
For adults a portion is:
1 apple, orange, pear or banana
2 satsumas or 2 plums
A handful of grapes
1 slice of pineapple, melon or papaya
1 heaped tablespoon of dried fruit
3 heaped tablespoons of vegetables
1 cereal bowl of salad
3 heaped tablespoons of pulses and beans
150ml of fruit and vegetable juices or smoothies
There are many ways to include fruit and vegetables in your day.
- Breakfast – Add your favourite fruit to cereals or low-fat natural yoghurt, also add vegetables to your omelettes e.g. mushrooms, spinach, onions and tomatoes. You can also have 150ml of fruit or vegetable juice or smoothie.
- Lunch – Include salad with your lunch or in your sandwich e.g. cucumber, tomatoes, lettuce, avocado. Add vegetables in your meals for example put plenty of tomatoes and onions when making a curry. Include pulses, lentils and beans to your salads, casseroles and soups. Don’t forget no matter how much beans and pulses you eat in a day only one portion will count towards your 5 a day.
- Dinner – Include a salad or vegetable as your side dish to your main meal. When making sauces choose vegetable options instead of cheese/cream-based versions.
If you do the shopping and cooking for the family and have some fussy eaters, visit the 5 A Day and your family page on the NHS website to get some tips on how to include more fruit and veg in your diets!
Encourage your child to sign up to the fruit and veg boost challenge!