J is for Juicy Stuff

Fruit, Veg and your Five a Day

Eating fruit and vegetables every day is really important for growing strong and being healthy.

This is because fruit and veg contain important vitamins, minerals and fibre that your body needs.

Everybody should try to eat five bits of fruit and veg a day as part of a balanced diet, but adults need bigger portions than kids!

Why Five a Day?

carrotsThe World Health Organisation recommends eating a minimum of 400g of fruit and vegetables a day to stay healthy, which is easily split into five manageable portions of fruit and veg, each of around 80g.

Don’t worry though, that’s five portions of fruit and veg altogether, not five portions of each!

Here are four reasons why you should eat five portions:

  1. Fruit and veg are a good source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C
  2. They’re an excellent source of fibre, which helps maintain a healthy stomach
  3. They contribute to a healthy and balanced diet
  4. Oh … and they taste delicious and there’s so much variety to choose from

What counts as one of your five?

It’s all well and good people saying you need five portions each weighing around 80g, but we often don’t have scales with us, so what exactly is one portion?

Below we have included a bunch of the most popular fruit and vegetables, so you can see for yourself.

Obviously we can’t include every single fruit and vegetable in the world, but hopefully this will work as a useful guide that you can compare other fruit and veg to:

5 a day - 5-a-day - Five fruit and veg a day - Co-operative Food_1287044390199

Getting your Five a Day is simple!

It’s easy to make sure you get your five a day.  Just think about how you can easily have them during your daily routine:

  1. When you wake up, you could start with a nice glass of fresh orange juice
  2. Then eat an apple during break time
  3. Make sure you have a nice, juicy tomato in your sandwich
  4. Eat a portion of peas in your supper
  5. And then have some fresh seasonal fruit for pudding

And then, without even trying, you’ve had your Five a Day that you need for a healthy, balanced diet.

Potato – The Outcast

There’s one poor vegetable that does not count towards your Five a Day and that is the potato.

This is because it is a ‘carbohydrate’ or ‘starch’ food, which means that although it does provide vitamins and fibre, it provides nowhere near as much of them as other fruit and veg do, especially when eaten without the skin.

Unfortunately, this means that eating chips doesn’t count!

Keep Fruit Exciting!

bananasMake your Five a Day a fun part of your day – mix up your fruit and vegs so you never get bored.  Not only will eating be more interesting, it is also actually better for you too. This is because different fruits and vegetables contain different combinations of fibre, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients.

In the UK, lots of shops sell a wide variety of fruit and veg, and our farms grow a huge variety of crops across the year, and with different fruits and vegs coming into season at different times of the year (see H is for Harvest), it’s easy to vary what you are eating or drinking, and not get bored.

For example, strawberries are in season during summer, whilst apples and pears are ready to eat in the autumn. In the summer, you will see lots more locally grown lettuces and tomatoes in the shops, whilst in the winter we see yummy cabbages and parsnips.

You can also combine fruits and vegetables in exciting ways so having your Five a Day can actually become a treat!

For example, with the help of mum or dad, why not try our recipe for making Carrot & Ginger Soup, or a yummy Strawberry Smoothie!

These are especially great ways of still making use of fruit and veg, even when it has started to go soft.

Check out more A to Z’s