5-a-day made easy

November 16th, 2018 - By fooddoctor
Thumbnail for 5-a-day made easy

There is enough scientific evidence to convince us that eating more fruit and veg is protective against many diseases, as well as helping our overall well-being and immunity.

In the UK, only about a third of adults and less than 10% of teenagers reach the 5-a-day target. Often when 5-a-day is quoted, we forget two important words: “at least”. The government recommends that we eat at least five a day. The more whole (rather than juiced) fruit and vegetables you eat the better; choose a variety so you get a wider range of nutrients.

Despite the 5-a-day campaign, it seems many people are still confused as to what counts as a portion. So here we give you a practical, visual way to instantly know what counts, and how much you need to eat for a portion. One portion weighs 80g, and that’s roughly equivalent to one whole fruit like apple, pear, peach, and so on. Sometimes you need two fruits to make up 80g, as with satsumas. Often 80g is roughly a handful. For dried fruit, a portion is 30g, which is about 3 tablespoons. And fruit juice counts only once a day, a portion being 150ml.

What counts?

Fresh Fruit

One medium banana, orange, pear or apple or a similar sized fruit
Half a grapefruit
Half an avocado
A slice of large fruit such as melon or pineapple
Two satsumas, plums or similar sized fruit
A small handful of grapes
Two handfuls of blueberries or raspberries
7 strawberries
1 slice of papaya
1 slice of melon (5cm slice)
1 large slice of pineapple
2 slices of mango (5cm slices)
3 heaped tablespoons of fruit salad

Dried fruit

One heaped tablespoon of dried fruit, such as sultanas, currants or cranberries
2 prunes
3 dried dates
Handful dried banana chips

Canned fruits in natural juice

2 pear or peach halves
6 apricot halves
8 segments of tinned grapefruit
3 heaped tablespoons of fruit cocktail

Juices count once a day only

150ml unsweetened fresh fruit juice
150ml Smoothie
150ml vegetable juice


3 heaped tablespoons of carrots
3 heaped tablespoons of sweetcorn
8 cauliflower florets
4 heaped tablespoons of cooked kale
4 heaped tablespoons of cooked spinach
4 heaped tablespoons of cooked spring greens
4 heaped tablespoons of cooked green beans.


One cereal bowl of lettuce, watercress or spinach
One cereal bowl of mixed salad
1 medium tomato
7 cherry tomatoes
1½ celery sticks
5cm piece of cucumber

Pulses count once a day only

3 heaped tablespoon of beans
3 heaped tablespoon of peas
3 heaped tablespoon of chick peas
3 heaped tablespoon of lentils

And if you want more, check out this video: How much is 5 a day?

Written by Azmina Govindji, Consultant Nutritionist & Registered Dietitian