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Eat Your Way to 5-a-Day

Portion Sizes

Everyone knows we need to eat fruit and veg for good health. The UK government tells us to have at least 5 portions every day for good health. But what is a portion size? Take a look at this chart to see if you are getting enough, a take the fruity challenge!

Fruity Challenge

  1. How many portions of fruit and veg does the UK government tell us we need to eat each day for good health?
  2. Is this number the minimum or maximum amount?
  3. Guess how many fruit and veg the World Health Organisation says we should eat each day for really good health.
  4. Give 3 examples of fruits and their portion sizes and 3 examples of vegetables and their portion sizes that you could eat as part of your 5-a-day.
  5. What is your favourite fruit? Create a dessert using your favourite fruit as an ingredient. (Other fruits can be included too.)
  6. Give two reasons why we need to eat fruit and vegetables every day.
  7. Can you get all your daily fruit and veg portions from juice?
  8. Does squash drink count as a portion?
  9. Are raisins a healthy snack or do they contain too much sugar?
  10. Do potatoes count as a portion of your 5-a-day fruit and veg?

A useful web site is www.eatwell.gov.uk/asksam/healthydiet/fruitandvegq/

Fruity Challenge Answers

  1. 5
  2. Minimum
  3. 8 to 10 portions of fruit and veg a day
  4. Lots of examples in the chart.
  6. Answers could include: they contain antioxidant vitamins beta-carotene, C and some have vitamin E. They provide folate (vitamin B9), fibre, calcium and iron (and other nutrients). People that have a high intake of fruit and veg have a lower incidence of heart disease, some cancers, diabetes, gallstones, constipation, IBS and many other health problems.
  7. Drinking juice isn't enough on its own to make up the five daily fruit and veg portions we should all aim for. A glass of fruit and/or vegetable juice (150ml) counts as a portion of fruit and veg, but juice can't make up more than one portion a day, however much you drink.

    This is because you don't get the same nutritional benefits from juice as you get from whole fruit and veg. When juice is extracted from the whole fruit or vegetable, it reduces the fibre content and releases a type of sugar from the fruit or veg that can damage teeth, especially if you drink it frequently.

    This is why it's better, particularly for children, to drink fruit juice at mealtimes (if at all) and water in between meals.

    Remember, juice only counts as a fruit and veg portion if it's 100% juice. It still counts if it's made from concentrate, pasteurised or long life.

  8. Squash and 'juice drinks' don't count because they also contain water and added sugar.
  9. Dried fruit, including raisins, is a healthy choice if you want a snack because it's full of fibre and vitamins and counts towards your daily fruit and veg portions. Prunes and dried apricots contain beta-carotene, while figs, prunes, raisins, sultanas and dried apricots are good sources of iron. But dried fruit doesn't contain vitamin C.

    All fruit contains sugar, but the type of sugar in fruit is less harmful to teeth than the added sugars you find in sweets, cakes, biscuits, ice cream, honey, fruit juice and processed foods.

    If you're concerned about the amount of sugar in your diet, you might want to cut down on these types of foods. And it's better for your teeth to have them at mealtimes rather than between meals.

    The amount of sugar varies depending on the type of fruit. Dried fruit contains more sugar than the same weight of non-dried fruit because the water has been removed. For the same reason, a portion of dried fruit is smaller than a portion of fresh fruit.

    Half to one tablespoon of raisins counts as one portion of fruit and veg.

  10. No, potatoes do not count towards your 5-a-day. Potatoes are a vegetable but they don’t count because they are mainly made up of carbohydrate (starch). Also when we eat them as part of a meal they are generally used in place of other sources of carbohydrate/starch, such as bread, pasta or rice. So they are classified as a starchy food rather than a vegetable. Other vegetables that don't count towards our five a day are yams, cassava and plantain, when they are eaten as a starchy food.

    However, other root vegetables, such as parsnips, swedes and turnips, are usually eaten as well as the main starchy food in a meal. So they can count towards our fruit and veg portions.

    Three heaped tablespoons of root veg make up one portion.