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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
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.
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.
For more details, see 5 A Day FAQs.
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.
Potatoes play an important role in your diet, even if they don't count towards your 5 A Day. It's best to eat them without any added salt or fat.
They're also a good source of fibre, so leave the skins on where possible to keep in more of the fibre and vitamins.
For example, if you're having boiled potatoes or a jacket potato, make sure you eat the skin, too.
5 A Day: a wide variety
To get the most from your 5 portions, eat a wide variety of fruit and vegetables.
For 5 A Day recipe ideas, see 5 A Day recipes.