5 a Day: What Counts as a Portion of Fruit or Veg?

  1. One piece of fruit or veg does not always equal one of your five-a-day.

An adult portion of fruit or vegetables is 80g. This means you need a greater number of small fruits or veg than you do large foodstuffs to fulfil ‘one of your five a day’. Likewise, one extra large fruit is often more than you need.

Smalls fruits which comprise a ‘portion’:

  • 14 cherries
  • 7 strawberries
  • 3 apricots
  • 2 kiwis
  • 2 satsumas
  • 2 plums


Medium fruits which comprise a ‘portion’:

  • 1 apple
  • 1 pear
  • 1 banana
  • 1 orange

Large fruits which comprise a ‘portion’:

  • 2 slices of mango
  • 1 slice of pineapple
  • 1 slice of papaya
  • 1 slice of melon
  • 1/2 grapefruit

2. Vegetable portion sizes are a little trickier to understand.

Where fruits are typically eaten whole, vegetables vary more wildly in size and, so, have variable portion sizes. There is also a big difference between cooked and uncooked vegetables.

Cruciferous veg and leafy greens which comprise a ‘portion’:

  • 4 tablespoons spinach
  • 4 tablespoons kale
  • 4 tablespoons green beans
  • 8 cauliflower florets
  • 2 broccoli spears


Salad veg which comprise a ‘portion’:

  • 7 cherry tomatoes
  • 5cm piece of cucumber
  • 1 1/2 celery sticks
  • 1 medium tomato

Cooked veg which comprise a ‘portion’:

  • 3 tablespoons carrots
  • 3 tablespoons peas
  • 3 tablespoons sweetcorn

3. Juices and smoothies should never exceed 150ml.

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Regardless of how many fruit or veg you have in your juice or smoothie, or how often you drink them, the only portion which counts is the first 150ml. After that, it is excessive and can promote early tooth decay.

Related: IBS-Friendly Smoothies: Try These Low FODMAP Healthy Drinks

4. Legumes (beans and pulses) count as one of your five-a-day – but potatoes don’t.

The fruit of the Fabaceae family, legumes are essential for fibre intake. Chickpeas, black eyed beans, butter beans, kidney beans, etc. all count as one of your five-a-day.

Just remember that, even if you eat more than 3 tablespoons, it still only counts as one portion.

5. If in doubt, use your palm.

If you lose track of the recommended portion sizes, a good rule of thumb is to use your palm. A person’s palm is usually a good indicator of their age, sex, body size and, more specifically, stomach size.


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