How to Get Your Five a Day

Five a day (h)

From traditional favourites such as apples and carrots to tropical mangoes and papayas, we should all aim to fuel our bodies with five portions of fruit and veg every day.  Choosing different types is important to get the full variety of vitamins and minerals and fibre that enjoying a rainbow diet brings.

It’s even thought that by eating five-a-day you can help reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke and some cancers. If you need even more convincing, remember that fruit and veg are not only incredibly tasty, but adding them to meals and snacks mean you get fuller for less fat and calories.

What counts?

Amazingly, pretty much all fruit and veg count towards your five-a-day.

* Fresh fruit and vegetables.

* Frozen fruit and vegetables.

* Tinned or canned fruit and vegetables. Buy the ones tinned in natural juice or water, with no added sugar or salt.

* Dried fruit, such as currants, dates, sultanas and figs.

* Fruit and vegetables cooked in dishes such as soups, stews or pasta dishes.

* A glass (150ml) of unsweetened 100% fruit or vegetable juice. Juice counts as a maximum of one portion a day, however much you drink. That's mainly because juice contains less fibre than whole fruits and vegetables.

* A smoothie containing all of the edible pulped fruit and/or vegetable may count as more than one portion but this depends on how it's made. Smoothies count as up to a maximum of two portions per day.

* Beans and pulses – including baked beans. These only count as one portion a day, no matter how many you eat. That's because they contain fewer nutrients than other fruits and vegetables.

* Fruit and veg in convenience foods, such as ready meals and shop-bought pasta sauces, soups and puddings – check the label to choose the healthier options.

How much do I need to eat?

This is where a lot of people fall down – follow Tesco’s guide to ensure that your portion sizes are plentiful.

A useful tip to remember is that each serving (of fruit or veg) should weigh around 80 grams. This is the same as one medium apple, orange, banana or pear, or one large slice of melon or fresh pineapple.

For smaller fruits, you’ll need two plums, kiwi fruits, or satsumas, or one tablespoon of dried fruits like sultanas. Vegwise, a portion encompasses three tablespoons of cooked vegetables, or a dessert bowlful of salad.

If you’re a fan of fruit juice, one glass of pure fruit juice counts as one of your five-a-day. However, keep in mind that this only counts as one portion, no matter how much you drink.

For children, one portion is roughly as much as they could hold in their hand.

How do I up my intake?

If you still find yourself struggling to get your five-a-Day, then why not browse Real Food’s healthy and easy-to-follow recipes for some ideas and inspiration?

Alternatively, follow these tips to up your intake:

* Add fruits, such as chopped banana or berries, to breakfast cereals.

* Blitz together fruits with milk for a delicious milkshake.

* If you have veg lingering in your fridge, use it up! Use it in pasta sauces, curries, soups, stews and frittatas.

* Try a baked sweet potato as an alternative to a baked white potato. You could also try these Real Food Sweet Potato Fries – they have a delicious natural sweetness.

* Snack on an apple or dried fruits for a natural energy boost.

* Fresh crudités such as carrot or cucumber also taste great when served with a low-fat dip, such as Real Food’s Broad Bean Dip which also counts towards your 5 a Day!

* For a healthy dessert option, try stewing or chopping fruits to stir through natural yogurt.

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