5-a-day portion sizes: What counts as a portion of fruit and vegetables?

It isn’t always easy knowing what counts as a portion of fruit and veggies, and now with the advice that we should be eating seven portions of them it’s probably best to learn what counts as a serving. We’ve put together this simple guide to make staying healthy easy.

Fruit like apples and bananas are the easy ones, one piece equals one portion, it’s the vegetables and smaller fruits where we get a little lost sometimes. For instance, did you know you actually need to eat two satsumas, plums or kiwi fruits to make it up to a full portion? For veggies and pulses, tablespoons and small handfuls are good measuring guides, three tablespoons of cooked vegetables or beans is roughly what you need for example.

To get you started here are some good basic measurements which count as a portion each for a helping hand when it comes to how to get your 5-a-day:

Broccoli portion size

Measuring little bits of veg such as broccoli can be a little fiddly. Here you can see that eight spears of broccoli is all you need to tick off one of your five a day.

Mushroom portion size

Mushrooms are great because they can be used in such a variety of dishes but you might not be eating quite enough for them to count as one of those important five.

You may think that by chucking a couple in a sandwich or a stir-fry you’re getting all you need, but you actually have to eat a whopping 14 button mushrooms, or three handfuls of sliced mushrooms for them to count as one portion. Don’t let that put you off though, we’ve got lots of delicious mushroom recipes

Great in salads and sandwiches, you need to eat 5cm of cucumber a day to get the benefits. It’s quite doable really, if you have a little bit for lunch and then some in a side salad for dinner.

Pineapple portion size

Pineapple is another one which can be confusing when it comes to portion size. The whole fruit rule that applies to bananas and apples thankfully isn’t the same here because munching your way through a whole pineapple would take quite some time. The good news is that you can get a portion of fruit in just one large slice of pineapple so a whole fruit will go a long way to bumping up your family’s daily five-a-day count.

Satsuma portion size

Perhaps the handiest fruit of all, two of these humble satsumas are a neatly packed up portion ready to go. Throw a couple of these mini oranges in your bag and enjoy them for a mid-morning snack to up your intake of fresh fruit, or have them in the evening as a sweet treat after tea as an alternative to a sugary dessert.

Spaghetti Hoops portion size

It may surprise you but everyone’s favourite store cupboard staple actually counts towards your 5 a day. Thanks to that signature sauce you’re actually getting a good old hit of tomato goodness in every 1/2 tin, so you can enjoy a quick and easy tea guilt-free. For added 5 a day factor why not stir through some spinach.

Sweetcorn portion size

Another tinned hero is the mighty sweetcorn. These little kernels of sunshine don’t only taste delicious they help you to get those all important vitamins and minerals. Three tablespoons is the amount you’ll need to serve up as a portion to tick another portion of fruit or veg off your list.

Tomatoes portion size

Tomatoes come in all shapes and seizes but as a rough guide a medium one counts as one portion of veg, while seven babies rack up a whole portion too. They can be enjoyed in so many recipes that there’s no excuse not to include these little chaps in your diet – think soups, salads or pasta sauces.

Avocado portion size

There’s no denying that avocado is the vegetable of the moment, but you don’t need to eat tonnes of the stuff to get your five a day portion. Just half of this stone fruit counts, and it is so simple to prepare. Simply pop out its skin and enjoy in chunks through a salad or mashed onto toast.

Banana portion size

Another portable favourite, bananas are a great way to top up your portions of fruit. Just one counts and can easily be fitted in between breakfast and lunch to help get you out of that mid-morning slump with its lovely natural sugars.

Cauliflower portion size

Eight florets of cauliflower happen to count as your five a day, which we estimate as the perfect portion size for cauliflower cheese! Smother this lovely veg in a rich sauce and serve it up alongside your Sunday roast for a tasty side you don’t have to feel guilty about.

Apples or Pears portion size

Some fruit are just easier to measure than others and two of the simplest versions come in the form of apples and pears. Just one of each of these classically British fruits will give your 5 a day a boost, and who doesn’t enjoy an apple pie we ask? The perfect use!

Kiwi portion size

A tropical fruit like no other, the kiwi is a delicious way to keep on top of your 5 a day. Just two of these little bright green fruits will tot up to a portion and they’re delicious sliced into yogurt or thrown on top of tarts.

Mango portion size

If you love mango you’ll be pleased to know it takes just two slices of this delicious yellow fruit to get your five a day hit. We like it as it comes, in chunky pieces to enjoy the flavour fully.

Beans portion size

If you always wondered about how best to benefit from beans then we can tell you, just three heaped tablespoons count as a portion and are a great low-fat way to fill up. Tossed in a lovely light dressing they can be enjoyed as a salad or mixed through sauces you could make them part of a chilli, casserole or shepherd’s pie.

Onion portion size

Rejoice onion lovers, these unlikely chaps do in fact count as a veggie. You’ll need to get through one in a day which is easy enough when you think about all the ways you can use them – think chutneys, salads and of course sauces.

Celery portion size

Celery is one of those satisfyingly crunchy vegetables and you’ll need to munch your way through just three small sticks to tick another veg off your daily list. We like ours dunked in hummus or sour cream and chive dip – delicious.

Cherries portion size

Make the most of cherries while they’re in season to help give you an extra portion of fruit. Fourteen cherries is the number you’ll need to get through, but we don’t think it’s much of a challenge when they’re so delicious.

Plums portion size

Another seasonal British favourite is the delicious plum. These juicy stone fruits are sweetest in late summer and you’ll need to eat just two to get one of your 5 a day portions.

Dried fruit portion size

Your 5 a day portions don’t always have to come in the form of fresh fruit or veggies. Dried options are a great way to boost your intake and make a really easy snack throughout the day.

Grapefruit portion size

Grapefruit is a bit of a love or hate it fruit but if you’re in the love camp then you’ll be pleased to know you can make your way through half a one and tick it off your 5 a day count. It’s delicious as breakfast with a little honey on top to take the edge of the bitterness.

Peppers portion size

Crunchy peppers are a great veg to dunk into dips as a snack that also count towards your 5 a day. You’ll only need a handful of strips to make your way through a portion as half a pepper counts, and with so many other delicious ways to use them you’ll easily be able to tick this one off. Stuffed pepper, anyone?

Strawberries portion size

If ever there was a good excuse to eat a big bowl of strawberries and cream it’s the news that a portion comes to seven of these lovely little fruits. Perfect for lunch boxes and delicious as desserts, we’re sure you’ll find many a way to enjoy these chaps.

More fruit and veg portion sizes
1 x orange, nectarine
2 x plums, satsumas, kiwi fruit
3 x apricots 5cm slice melon
4 x heaped tbsp cooked kale, spring greens, green beans 4 x heaped tbsp blueberries 1 x cup pomegranate seeds 3 x heaped tbsp carrots and peas
2 x heaped tbsp spinach 8 x Brussels sprouts