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Fruit and vegetables

Fruit and vegetables are a good source of fibre, are packed with essential vitamins and minerals and a variety of phytochemicals (naturally occurring plant substances) and antioxidants that are vital for health.

 Studies have shown that eating a wide variety of fruit & veg, and aiming for a minimum of 5 portions each day, can help to reduce your risk of developing many health conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, obesity and certain cancers. An additional benefit of eating fruit and vegetables is that they are naturally low in calories and high in fibre, meaning they can help to maintain a healthy weight.

How much fruit & veg do I need each day?

Aim for at least 5 x 80g portions of fruit and vegetables each day (meaning a daily total of at least 400g). Fresh, frozen and dried fruit, canned fruit in juice, and canned vegetables in water (with no added sugar or salt) all count towards this.

 Some foods and drinks can only be counted as 1 of your 5-a-day, even if you have more than 1 portion. For example:

  • 150ml fruit juice (as the juicing process removes most of the fibre from the fruit)
  • 80g beans and pulses (as although a good source of fibre, they contain fewer nutrients than other fruit and vegetables)

What does 1 portion of fruit & veg look like?

slices of apple

1 medium apple, orange or pear

banana

1 small banana

blackberries

8 large blackberries

grapes

15 small grapes

peach

Half a peach

kiwi sliced

2 kiwis, plums or satsumas

pineapple rings

2 rings of tinned pineapple

raisins

1 small box of raisins

broccoli

2 large broccoli florets

cucumber

Quarter of a cucumber

carrot sticks

1 medium carrot

cherry tomatoes on the vine

8 cherry tomatoes

sweetcorn

3 heaped tablespoons of sweetcorn or peas

salad leaves

1 cereal bowl of mixed salad leaves

vegetable soup

1 bowl of vegetable soup

fruit juice

150ml pure fruit juice

I have diabetes... can I still eat fruit?!

Although fruit contains natural sugar, having diabetes does not mean that you should stop eating it. If you are distributing your intake evenly across the day and eating the recommended portion sizes, it is very unlikely for fruit to be contributing to elevated blood glucose levels.

How can I reach 5 portions of fruit & veg per day?

Breakfast

glass of fruit juice

Include a 150ml glass of unsweetened fruit juice (only once a day)

blueberries

Add fruit to your cereal

mushrooms

Add grilled mushrooms or tomatoes to scrambled eggs

Lunch

 

vegetable soup

Have a bowl of vegetable soup (homemade or tinned)

 

lambs lettuce salad leaves

Add extra salad to your sandwich

cauliflower rice

Swap normal rice for cauliflower rice