The following advice is based on the UK Government Department of Health and NHS Guidelines and Recommendations.
The following count towards your ‘5 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. Note that juice counts as a maximum of one portion a day, however much you drink. This is mainly because juice contains less fibre than whole fruits and vegetables.
- Smoothies. 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. 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. However, some ready-made foods are high in salt, sugar and fat, so only have them occasionally or in small amounts. When you are shopping, it is a good idea to check the salt, sugar and fat content of ready-made foods on the printed food label.
‘5 A DAY’ from the above list might seem possible, but you may still be feeling short of ideas. Here is a helpful way of expanding your thinking about where to find different fruit and vegetable serving:
- Open one: Canned fruit and veg count too. Choose canned fruit in unsweetened natural juice and vegetables in water.
- Defrost one: Frozen fruit and veg count, it only takes a couple of minutes to microwave some frozen peas for your omelette.
- Drink one: One 150ml glass of 100% unsweetened fruit or vegetable juice can count as a portion (but remember only 1 glass counts).
- Sprinkle one: Try sprinkling pepper, onion, mushroom, sweetcorn or pineapple chunks on top of a thin-based pizza.
- Breakfast one : Add fruit to cereal, porridge or lower fat yoghurt – a handful of berries or a chopped banana is lovely.
- Lunch one: Add some crunch to your sandwiches with cucumber, grated carrot or tomato, and have a piece of fruit..
- Pulse one: Add beans, lentils and pulses to stews, bakes and salads, but remember, only 1 of your ‘5 A DAY’ can come from pulses.
- Side-dish one: Have a salad or veg with your main meal. If you are having a roast dinner make sure you have also got some carrots or broccoli on your plate.
- Add one: Add canned, frozen or fresh veg to your meals to make them even tastier: For example, add chopped carrots to spag bol , or add red peppers to a pasta sauce, or mix peas into your mashed potato.
- Dip one: Dunk veg in lower fat dip, lower fat cheese spread or salsa – sticks of cucumber, peppers, carrots or even cauliflower are delicious.
Websites for Healthy Eating
If you find yourselves short of ideas for ‘5 A DAY’ healthy eating, try the following online:
- Google “5 a day recipes” for the best way to find inspiration!
- Go to BBC Good Food – the BBC online food web pages have an enormous number of easy to follow recipes. Put “5 a day” into the search to get specific ideas about cooking with more vegetables.
- Go to All Recipes for another very good site with a large number of “5 a day” recipes.
- You can also find more information and recipes at the NHS Livewell online site