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What is a Portion of Fruit / Vegetables?

The first rule: eat plenty of fruit and vegetables. There is good evidence that diets rich in fruit and vegetables reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases, such as coronary heart disease and possibly some cancers, in later life. Most people would benefit from increasing the amount of fruit and vegetables to twice the amount they currently eat.

Fruit and vegetables make good snack foods. A balanced diet contains at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day and should include a wide variety to get a range of their protective substances. Fruit and vegetables may be fresh, frozen, canned, dried or 100% juice (juice counts only once a day as a portion).

Do you know if you eat enough fruit and vegetables? And also exactly how many you should be eating?

Health studies show that only one in seven of us eat the recommended quantity of fruit and vegetable every day.

A "five a day" fruit and vegetables intake is estimated to prevent up to 20 per cent of deaths from conditions such as heart disease and some cancers. In order to encourage people to eat more fruit and vegetables, the Department of Health has launched a "five a day" campaign. As part of this, they are set to announce what products can carry a "trademark", guaranteeing that they constitute a portion. Processed foods with added salt, sugar or fat will not qualify for the label.

One portion of fruit or vegetables is the same as:

  • 2 - 3 tablespoons of fruit salad or stewed fruit (fresh, frozen or canned in juice)
  • ½ - 1 tablespoon of dried fruit (dried apricots, dried pineapple rings, raisins)
  • 2 - 3 tablespoons of vegetables (cooked, frozen, raw or canned)
  • a dessert bowl of salad
  • a handful of grapes, cherries or berries (such as blackberries or gooseberries)
  • a 150ml glass of fruit juice, however much fruit juice you drink, you can only count it as a maximum of one portion per day
  • 2 tablespoons of beans and pulses (i.e. lentils, kidney beans), however much you eat, you can only count these as a maximum of one portion per day
  • 1 apple, pear, orange, banana or other medium-sized fruit
  • 2 plums, small nectarines or other small-sized fruit
  • ½ grapefruit or avocado
  • 1 slice of a large fruit (melon or pineapple)

Calories in fruits


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