fruit and veg - what is a serving

Fruit and Veg – What is a serving?

posted in: General Nutrition, Nutrition | 0

Fruit and veg are important macronutrients that should be eaten every day. But it is important to make sure you eat enough for health benefits. Each country differs with their recommendations, but most have a minimum of 5 fruit and veg per day, which is the UK national recommendation (1). However, 5 portions is the minimum recommendation and ideally you should be having much more than this! Unfortunately, the reality is that far few people even hit this minimum amount and most don’t know what a portion is. So let’s start with that and discuss what a serving is of fruit and veg. From here, you can try your best to add more to your daily intake so that you improve your overall health and reap in their many benefits.

So why eat fruit and veg?

Fruit and veg, as I’m sure you know are loaded with vitamins and minerals. All of them differ in the amounts of nutrients, which is why it is important to include a large variety of different types and colour fruit and veg in your diet. Vitamins and minerals have different roles but are all important to improve overall health including improving immunity, and lower the risk of cancers, diabetes, heart disease and other health issues. Fruit and veg also contain fibre, which is important for bowel health, blood pressure, blood sugar levels and inflammation, as well as keeping you more full and satisfied, and less likely to binge on unhealthy foods.

Apart from fibre, vitamins and minerals, they also contain phytonutrients (also known as phytochemicals) which are plant-produced chemicals (2). These have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits. Antioxidants help to neutralise free radicals (linked to cancer) and have been proven to improve immune response.

What is a serve of fruit and veg?

Many people are unaware of what a serving is, of fruit and veg. Here is a short guide to what a serve of fruit and veg are:

Fruit – 1 serve is approximately 80g in weight (fresh)

(as eaten or the edible portion, or drained if from a can)

fruit and veg - what is a serve?

Fresh fruit – aim for a minimum of two per day, but ideally more

  • 1-2 handfuls of very small fruit such as berries and grapes
  • 2 small fruits such as kiwis, satsumas or tangerines, plums or nectarines
  • 1 medium fruit such as an apple, orange, banana or pear
  • A portion of a large fruit such as 1 slice of melon, a thick slice of pineapple, 2 slices of mango, 1/2 a grapefruit
  • 1 cup diced fruit

Other sources to eat on occasion, but these only count as 1 portion a day (portion approximately 30g)

  • 1 small glass (150ml) of 100% fruit juice (counts as max. 1 of your 5 a day)
  • 1 small handful of dried fruit

Vegetables – 1 serve is approximately 80g in weight

(as eaten or the edible portion, or drained if from a can)

fruit and veg - what is a serve?

Non-starchy veg (ideal to have more of these than starchy veg)

  • 1 cup raw veg
  • 1/2 cup cooked veg
  • 1 cereal bowl of salad leaves
  • 1 small cup (150ml) of 100% vegetable juice (counts as max. 1 of your 5 a day)

Starchy veg (ideally have less of these)

  • 1 small sweet potato
  • 1 medium white potato
  • 1/2 cup of sweet corn

The Final Word

Fruit and vegetables are extremely important for your health and not nearly enough of us eat enough. If there is one area you should want to make an improvement to in your dietary intake, this is it! Try to work out how much you are having, and make it your goal to improve this. there is always room for improvement! Trust me, the benefits will be worth it.