We all need to eat at least 5 portions of fruit and veg a day, but what does a portion look like?
Eating a wide variety of vegetables and fruit is a vital first step to eating well and protecting yourself against cancer. Aim for at least five portions every day.
80g of fresh, canned or frozen fruit and vegetables counts as 1 portion of your 5 A DAY. Here are some examples of what roughly counts as a 5 A DAY portion for an adult, based on one portion.
Let’s start big – for fruit like melons or pineapples, a portion is the equivalent of a couple of slices.
For an apple, an orange, a banana or a pear, 1 piece = 1 portion. If your fruit is smaller – such as a plum, kiwi or satsuma – then a portion is 2 pieces.
Obviously sizes vary, but a handful of grapes, blueberries or strawberries is roughly a portion of fruit.
A portion is equivalent to 30g. That’s about one heaped tablespoon of raisins, or three prunes.
A portion is around 1 small bowl of salad leaves, an average tomato or a 5cm piece of cucumber.
This covers broccoli, cauliflower, kale and Brussels sprouts.
Around ½ – 1 courgette, pepper or leek counts as 1 of your 5 A DAY. 1 carrot, parsnip or sweet potato also counts.
Most cooked veggies (like peas, sweetcorn, sliced cabbage, mushrooms or runner beans) can be measured out in tablespoonfuls on a plate: 3–4 heaped tablespoons will give you 1 portion.
No matter how much unsweetened fruit or vegetable juice you drink, it’s only ever going to be 1 portion. Why? Fibre is lost when you break down the fruit or vegetables, and this also means that the sugars naturally found in fruit and vegetables are released and can more easily harm teeth.
80g (or 3 tablespoons) of cooked pulses like beans and lentils only count as 1 of your 5 A DAY no matter how much you have. It’s because they don’t have quite the same range of nutrients as fruit and vegetables.
To clock up your portion, you’ll need to eat at least 3 tablespoonfuls.
While sweet potatoes can be part of your 5 A DAY, white potatoes, yams, plantain and cassava don’t count because they contain a lot of starch. They should be eaten as the carbohydrate part of your diet instead.
What changes could you make to your life to reduce your risk of getting cancer?