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What counts as 1 of your 5 a day?

It’s been drummed into us for years: get your 5 a day. Add an extra apple or carrot to your diet and reap the benefits.

Most of us know that we should be living by the ‘five a day’ mantra but many of us are still confused about what counts as one of our five a day. Is it a bowlful of spinach? A handful? A large apple?

In fact, a recent survey revealed that whilst 95% of Brits know the 5 a day rule, up to a third aren’t sure what a portion actually looks like.

We might know that an orange or a cucumber goes towards our five a day but what about blueberry muffins, lettuce laden sandwiches and potato-packed stews – do they count?

Plus, eating 5 portions of oranges won’t fill your 5 a day quota: you need a mix of different fruits and vegetables as well.

The average Brit scoffs just over 4 portions a day; close, but falling short of government recommendations for our fruit and veg intake.

Whilst we might be eating lots of healthy goodness, remember not all fruit and veg is created equal.

So, to cut through the confusion, here’s what counts as one of your 5 a day…

What counts as one of your 5 a day fruits

One portion of fruit is equivalent to…


  • 1 medium size fruit e.g. a banana, orange, apple or pear
  • 1 tablespoon of dried fruit
  • 1 slice or ½ a large fruit – e.g. melon, grapefruit or avocado
  • 2 small fruits e.g. plums, satsumas or kiwi fruit
  • Or 5 medium tomatoes, 6 lychees, 7 strawberries, 7 cherry tomatoes or 14 cherries

One portion of vegetables is equivalent to…


  • ½ a large courgette or cucumber
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 spears of broccoli
  • 3 heaped tablespoons of carrots
  • 8 cauliflower florets
  • 3 heaped tablespoons of peas, beans or pulses
  • 4 heaped tablespoons of cooked kale, spinach or green bean

What counts as one of your five a day - vegetables

You could also up your intake with…


  • A glass of 100% pure unsweetened fruit or vegetable juice
  • A homemade smoothie
  • Half a tin of beans
  • Lemon slices in your drink
  • Salsa, hummus and guacamole dip

Unfortunately, these don’t count…


  • Jam
  • Tomato ketchup
  • Coconut
  • Potatoes
  • Fruit muffins
  • Dietary supplements

How religious are you in getting your 5 a day? Want to read more about nutrition? Read our latest blog post on the Healthy Food Scam.

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