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8 tips for healthy eating
The Eatwell Guide
Food labelling terms
Reference intakes on food labels
Starchy foods and carbohydrates
Dairy and alternatives
Meat in your diet
Fish and shellfish
The healthy way to eat eggs
Beans and pulses
Water, drinks and your health
Eating processed foods
Salt: the facts
Sugar: the facts
Top sources of added sugar
What does 100 calories look like?
Red meat and the risk of bowel cancer
What is a Mediterranean diet?
How to store food and leftovers
10 ways to prevent food poisoning
Why you should never wash raw chicken
How to wash fruit and vegetables
The truth about sweeteners
Sprouted seeds safety advice
Everyone should have at least 5 portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables every day. An adult portion of fruit or vegetables is 80g.
The guide below will give you an indication of typical portion sizes for adults.
Children should also eat at least 5 portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables a day.
The amount of food a child needs varies with age, body size and levels of physical activity.
As a rough guide, 1 portion is the amount they can fit in the palm of their hand.
5 A Day fruit portions
Small-sized fresh fruit
A portion is 2 or more small fruit – for example, 2 plums, 2 satsumas, 2 kiwi fruit, 3 apricots, 6 lychees, 7 strawberries or 14 cherries.
Medium-sized fresh fruit
A portion is 1 piece of fruit, such as 1 apple, banana, pear, orange or nectarine.
Large fresh fruit
A portion is half a grapefruit, 1 slice of papaya, 1 slice of melon (5cm slice), 1 large slice of pineapple or 2 slices of mango (5cm slices).
A portion of dried fruit is around 30g. This is about 1 heaped tablespoon of raisins, currants or sultanas, 1 tablespoon of mixed fruit, 2 figs, 3 prunes or 1 handful of dried banana chips.
But dried fruit can be high in sugar and can be bad for your teeth.
Try to swap dried fruit for fresh fruit, especially between meals.
To reduce the risk of tooth decay, dried fruit is best enjoyed as part of a meal – as dessert, for example, not as a between meal snack.
Tinned or canned fruit
A portion is roughly the same quantity of fruit that you would eat for a fresh portion, such as 2 pear or peach halves, 6 apricot halves or 8 segments of tinned grapefruit.
Choose fruit canned in natural juice, rather than syrup.
5 A Day vegetable portions
A portion is 2 broccoli spears or 4 heaped tablespoons of cooked kale, spinach, spring greens or green beans.
A portion is 3 heaped tablespoons of cooked vegetables, such as carrots, peas or sweetcorn, or 8 cauliflower florets.
A portion is 1.5 full-length celery sticks, a 5cm piece of cucumber, 1 medium tomato or 7 cherry tomatoes.
Tinned and frozen vegetables
Roughly the same quantity as you would eat for a fresh portion. For example, 3 heaped tablespoons of tinned or frozen carrots, peas or sweetcorn count as 1 portion each.
For tinned, choose those canned in water with no added salt or sugar.
Pulses and beans
A portion is 3 heaped tablespoons of baked beans, haricot beans, kidney beans, cannellini beans, butter beans or chickpeas.
Remember, however much you eat, beans and pulses count as a maximum of 1 portion a day.
Potatoes don't count towards your 5 A Day. This is the same for yams, cassava and plantain, too.
They're classified nutritionally as a starchy food, because when eaten as part of a meal they're usually used in place of other sources of starch, such as bread, rice or pasta.
Although they don't count towards your 5 A Day, potatoes do play an important role in your diet as a starchy food.
You can learn more in 5 A Day: what counts?
5 A Day in juices and smoothies
Unsweetened 100% fruit juice, vegetable juice and smoothies can only ever count as a maximum of 1 portion of your 5 A Day.
For example, if you have 2 glasses of fruit juice and a smoothie in 1 day, that still only counts as 1 portion.
Smoothies include any drink made up of any combination of fruit or vegetable juice, purée, or all the edible pulped fruit or vegetable.
Your combined total of drinks from fruit juice, vegetable juice and smoothies shouldn't be more than 150ml a day, which is a small glass.
For example, if you have 150ml of orange juice and 150ml smoothie in 1 day, you'll have exceeded the recommendation by 150ml.
When fruit is blended or juiced, it releases the sugars. This increases the risk of tooth decay, so it's best to drink fruit juice or smoothies at mealtimes.
Whole fruits are less likely to cause tooth decay because the sugars are contained within the structure of the fruit.
Watch out for drinks that say "juice drink" on the pack as they're unlikely to count towards your 5 A Day and can be high in sugar.
5 A Day and ready-made foods
Fruit and vegetables contained in shop-bought ready-made foods can also count toward your 5 A Day.