What is a portion of fruit and vegetables?

green, yellow, red, purple fruits and vegetables

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.


Fruit

Large fruit: 1-2 slices

Let’s start big – for fruit like melons or pineapples, a portion is the equivalent of a couple of slices.

melon and pineapple

Medium fruit: 1 piece

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.

Apple, a banana and a pearplums and a kiwi

Small fruit: A handful

Obviously sizes vary, but a handful of grapes, blueberries or strawberries is roughly a portion of fruit.

A portion of blueberries

Dried fruit: A heaped tablespoon

A portion is equivalent to 30g. That’s about one heaped tablespoon of raisins, or three prunes.

A portion of dried fruit

Vegetables

Salad

A portion is around 1 small bowl of salad leaves, an average tomato or a 5cm piece of cucumber.

A bowl of salad leaves

Cruciferous vegetables: 8 florets or pieces

This covers broccoli, cauliflower, kale and Brussels sprouts.

A portion of broccoli

Medium-to-large vegetables: ½ to 1 whole piece

Around ½ – 1 courgette, pepper or leek counts as 1 of your 5 A DAY. 1 carrot, parsnip or sweet potato also counts.

A sweet potato and a carrotA red pepper and a leek

Small or sliced vegetables: 3-4 heaped tablespoons

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.

a portion of frozen veg

Fruit or vegetable juice: one 150ml glass

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.

A glass of orange juice

Beans and pulses

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.

A portion of pulses

To clock up your portion, you’ll need to eat at least 3 tablespoonfuls.

What about potatoes?

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.

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