Fruit and vegetables are a good source of vitamins, minerals and fibre. They are also usually low in fat. Most of us do not eat enough fruit and vegetables. You need to aim to eat at least five portions a day. Different types and colours of fruits and vegetables contain different nutrients. Try to have a wide variety of fruits and vegetables from each of the colour groups: green, yellow, red, purple, orange and white.
People who have a diet high in fruit and vegetables may have a lower risk of heart disease. It may also reduce the risk of developing some types of cancer, such as cancers of the mouth, throat and lung.
Fruit and vegetables should make up about a third of the food we eat every day.
The following each count as one portion:
- one apple or one banana
- a slice of melon
- two small fruits, such as kiwi fruits or plums
- a handful of berries (strawberries, blackberries or blueberries)
- a small can of tinned pineapple or a few slices of fresh pineapple
- a glass of orange or apple juice (this only counts once a day)
- one whole vegetable, for example a courgette or a small pepper
- three heaped tablespoons of diced carrots or shredded cabbage
- a cereal bowl of mixed salad
- seven cherry tomatoes
- two broccoli florets
- three heaped tablespoons of peas or lentils.
Tips for eating more fruit and vegetables:
- Have a mixed salad as a starter or as a side dish with your main meal.
- Reduce meat portions and replace with larger servings of vegetables and salad.
- If you need a snack between meals, choose fresh fruit.
- Frozen vegetables and tinned fruit in juice (not syrup) are just as healthy as fresh ones and can be cheaper.
- Eat fruit and vegetables cooked in dishes such as soups, stews and pasta.
- Try to avoid adding butter, rich sauces or dressings to your vegetables and salads. This will increase the calories you eat and drink. But you can include them if you are trying to gain weight.