5 A Day: What Counts?

NHS

Almost all fruit and vegetables count towards your 5 A Day, so it may be easier than you think to get your recommended daily amount.

At a glance: what counts?

  • 80g of fresh, canned or frozen fruit and vegetables counts as 1 portion of your 5 A Day. Opt for tinned or canned fruit and vegetables in natural juice or water, with no added sugar or salt.
  • 30g of dried fruit (this is equivalent to around 80g of fresh fruit) counts as 1 portion of your 5 A Day. Dried fruit should be eaten at mealtimes, not as a between-meal snack, to reduce the risk of tooth decay.

Some portions only count once in a day:

  • 150ml of fruit juice, vegetable juice or smoothie. Limit the amount you drink to a combined total of 150ml a day. Crushing fruit and vegetables into juice and smoothies releases the sugars they contain, which can damage teeth. Juices and smoothies should be consumed at mealtimes, not as a between-meal snack, to reduce the risk of tooth decay.
  • 80g of beans and pulses. These only count once as part of your 5 A Day, no matter how many you eat. This is because although they're a good source of fibre, they contain fewer nutrients than other fruits and vegetables.

Different types of fruit and veg

Fruit and vegetables don't have to be fresh to count as a portion. Nor do they have to be eaten on their own: they also count if they're part of a meal or dish.

These all also count towards your 5 A Day:

  • Frozen fruit and vegetables.
  • Tinned or canned fruit and vegetables. Buy ones tinned in natural juice or water, with no added sugar or salt.
  • Fruit and vegetables cooked in dishes such as soups, stews or pasta.
  • A 30g portion of dried fruit, such as currants, dates, sultanas and figs, counts as 1 of your 5 A Day, but should be eaten at mealtimes, not as a between-meal snack, to reduce the impact on teeth.
  • Fruit and vegetables in convenience foods, such as ready meals and shop-bought pasta sauces, soups and puddings.

Some ready-made foods are high in salt, sugar and fat, so only have them occasionally or in small amounts. You can find the salt, sugar and fat content of ready-made foods on the label.

Drinks and 5 A Day

  • Keep an eye on the amount of fruit juice and smoothies you drink. The current advice is to limit consumption of fruit or vegetable juices and smoothies to a combined total of 150ml a day (1 portion). Crushing fruit into juice releases the sugars they contain, which can damage teeth. Even unsweetened fruit juice and smoothies are sugary, so limit these to a combined total of 150ml a day.
  • Diluting 150ml of fruit juice with water (still or sparkling) can make it go further.

Remember to keep fruit juice and smoothies to mealtimes to reduce the impact on teeth.

Do potatoes count towards my 5 A Day?

No. Potatoes are a starchy food and a great source of energy, fibre, B vitamins and potassium. In the UK, we get a lot of our vitamin C from potatoes. Although they typically only contain around 11 to 16mg of vitamin C per 100g of potatoes, we generally eat a lot of them.

When eaten as part of a meal, potatoes are generally used in place of other sources of starch, such as bread, pasta or rice. Because of this, they don't count towards your 5 A Day.

Other vegetables that don't count towards your 5 A Day are yams, cassava and plantain. They're also usually eaten as starchy foods.

Sweet potatoes, parsnips, swedes and turnips do count towards your 5 A Day because they're usually eaten in addition to the starchy food part of the meal.

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