What counts as your Five-a-day?

Posted by Shaleen Meelu on Friday, 23 November 2012 in General

What counts as your Five-a-day?

Five different servings of fruit, vegetables, pulses and nuts (aim for as much day to day variety as possible). The general rule for servings/portions sizes we highlight on training courses 

  1. 3 heaped tablespoons of vegetables
  2. 1 handful of e.g. berries
  3. 1 whole piece of fruit (e.g. medium sized apple and banana) 

One portion includes....


  • 3 tablespoons of cooked vegetables such as carrots or peas
  • 1 cereal bowl of salad. 
Every portion of vegetables counts towards your daily five. Potatoes are counted as starchy food not a vegetable so are not included.

Fruit (fresh, frozen, canned)

  • 1 medium size piece of fruit such as an apple or banana
  • 2 smaller pieces of fruit such as satsumas or figs
  • A handful of smaller fruits such as grapes or strawberries
  • 3 heaped tablespoons of fruit salad
  • Half a larger piece of fruit such as a grapefruit
  • A 5 cm/2 inch slice of a very large fruit such as melon
Every different portion of fruit counts towards your daily five e.g. 2 satsumas, 1 banana and a handful of strawberries counts as 3 portions

Beans and Lentils

  • 3 tablespoons of cooked beans or lentils such as kidney beans or chickpeas
Beans and lentils only count as one portion a day, no matter how many portions you eat. 

Dried fruit

  • 3 small fruits such as apricots
  • 1 tablespoon of very small dried fruit such as raisins
Dried fruit counts as one portion a day no matter how much of it you eat

100& pure fruit juice or vegetable juice

  • One glass
Juices count as only one portion a day no matter how many glasses you drink
Adapted from Five-a-Day Fruit & Vegetable Cookbook by Whiteman, Mayhew and Ingram)

What doesn't count as your Five - a - day?

Potatoes and other starchy root vegetables (yams, cassava and plantain) do not count. However, this does not mean they are 'bad' for you. Rather they are classified as 'starchy foods' and should be consumed as part of a balanced diet. Nutrient rich sweet potatoes, parsnips, swedes and turnips DO count. 

Be aware of fruit or vegetable flavoured foods and drinks. They may contain extracts of fruit and vegetable but not a 'whole portion'.

Why do we need Five-a-day?

Is Five-a-Day really enough?

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Hi, my name is Shaleen Meelu and I am the founder of Healthy Futures. I’m also a registered nutritionist and I have helped over 3,000 people embark upon healthy living programmes.


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