5 A Day: what counts?

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.

• 80g of fresh, canned and or frozen fruit and vegetables counts as one 5 A Day portion. Tinned or canned fruit and vegetables in natural juice or water, with no added sugar or salt, are best here.

• 30g of dried fruit (this equates to around 80g fresh fruit) counts as one 5 A Day portion. Aim to consume dried fruit at mealtimes as opposed to a between-meal snack, to reduce damage to teeth due to fruits natural high acidic PH level. Some portions only count once in a day- no doubling up on juices and beans!

• 150ml fruit juice, vegetable juice or smoothie. Restrict the volume you drink to no more than 150ml a day. Crushing fruit and vegetables into juice and smoothies releases the sugars contained in the fruit and vegetables, which can increase the risk of tooth decay.

To limit the risk of tooth decay, try drinking these using a straw so the juice has minimal contact with your teeth.

• 80g of beans and pulses. This only count as one 5 A Day portion a day, so it makes no difference if you consume more. The reason being is despite being high in fibre, they offer fewer nutrients than other fruits and vegetables.

For more on typical portion sizes, see 5 A Day portion sizes. Different types of fruit and veg Fruit and vegetables can be fresh, tinned canned or frozen and still count as a portion. Nor do they need to be consumed individually as they also applicable if they count as part of a meal or dish.

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The following foods all count towards your 5 A Day:

• Frozen fruit and vegetables.

• Tinned or canned fruit and vegetables. Try tinned ones that come in its 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 and should be consumed at mealtimes as opposed to a between-meal snack which they are commonly viewed as to reduce the impact on teeth.

• Fruit and vegetables in convenience foods, such as ready meals and shop-bought pasta sauces, soups and puddings. Some ready-made foods are high in salt, sugar and fat, so only have them occasionally or in small amounts and check the content of ready-made foods on the label.  For more information, see the NHS page on food labels.

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Do potatoes count towards my 5 A Day?

So many of you Potatoe lovers might be wondering, do potatoes count as a vegetable? Unfortunately, Potatoes do not count as a vegetable and therefore, do not contribute towards your 5 a day, unless they are sweet Potatoes which do count.

Potatoes are a high starch food and a reliable source of energy, fibre, B vitamins and potassium. In the UK, we can absorb a lot of vitamin C from potatoes. Although they typically supply between 11-16mg of vitamin C per 100g of potatoes, we are renowned for eating plenty of them! When eaten as part of a meal, potatoes are generally used in place of other sources of carbohydrates like bread, pasta or rice. Due to this, they cannot be considered to be part of your 5 A Day.

Other vegetables that are also excluded from the 5 a day bracket are yams, cassava and plantain. They are also usually eaten as starchy foods. However sweet potatoes, parsnips, swedes and turnips do count due to they are often consumed as an extra to the carbohydrates of a meal. Potatoes still play an important dietary role, even if they aren't cooked with salt or fat, and don't count as part of your 5 A Day.

It's best to eat them without any added salt or fat. Potatoes are a good source of fibre, especially the skins so leave them on if you can such as if you’re having jacket or boiled potatoes. 5 A Day: Vary what you eat To get the greatest benefits out of five portions, choose a wide range of fruit and vegetables. For 5 A Day recipe ideas, see 5 A Day recipes for more information about a healthy, balanced diet, see Food and diet.