How much is in a healthy portion of fruits and vegetables?
Ideally, you should be consuming five healthy portions of fruit and vegetables everyday. These portions can come from fresh fruits or tinned fruits, vegetable juices or fruit smoothies, fresh vegetables of tinned vegetables, salads, beans, and pulses. The sizes of the portions will differ depending on whether the fruit or the vegetable is fresh, frozen, or dried.
The logic behind portions of fruits and vegetables
According to the Department of Health, the average human being should be consuming at least five portions of fruits and vegetables every day. This ensures that you get all the necessary vitamins and mineral required by your body. When you eat five portions of fruit and vegetables everyday, you are preventing the onset of diseases related to the heart. Moreover, you also prevent cancers and other chronic conditions from surfacing.
The five portions of fruits and vegetables that you have to consume everyday do not necessarily have to be fresh. They can be dried, tinned, frozen, and can even come in the form of fruit juices or vegetable juices. You can even include the fruits and the vegetables which are cooked with other dishes like soups and casseroles. The portions of fruits and vegetables in these dishes can also be included in your daily portion count for foods and vegetables.
You must keep in mind that the sizes of the portions will differ depending on whether they are fresh, frozen, tinned, or dried. For instance, a portion of fruit is equivalent to
- one whole fresh banana, apple, orange, or nectarine
- one fresh, dried, or tinned peach or pear
- two whole figs whether dried or fresh
- two whole fresh kiwi fruits, plums, tangerines, or satsumas
- three whole apricots that are fresh, dried, or tinned
- three whole prunes or dates that are ready to eat
- six prunes that are tinned
- a handful or blackberries
- a handful of grapes
- two handfuls of raspberries
- two handfuls of blueberries
- seven fresh strawberries
- half of a grapefruit
- half of an avocado
- a heaped tablespoon of mixed dried fruit, sultanas, or raisins
- one hundred and fifty millilitres of pure fruit juice
With regards to vegetables, here are some portion measurement guides
- one medium onion
- one large parsnip
- one leek
- one sweet corn on the cob
- one medium tomato
- a cereal bowl full of lettuce leaves
- a cereal bowl full of fresh spinach
- three heaped tablespoons of shredded cabbage
- three heaped tablespoons of fresh carrots or tinned carrots
- three heaped tablespoons of tinned sweet corn
- three heaped tablespoons of fresh, frozen, or tinned peas
- three heaped tablespoons of frozen mixed vegetables
- three heaped tablespoons of diced swede of cooked swede
- three heaped tablespoons of chickpeas
- three heaped tablespoons of kidney beans
- three heaped tablespoons of cannelloni beans
- three heaped tablespoons of butter beans
- three heaped tablespoons of broad beans
- three heaped tablespoons of cooked black-eye beans
- three heaped tablespoons of lentils
The importance of variety in your selection of fruits and vegetables
It is advisable to consume a variety of fruits and vegetables everyday. The reason for variety is because the different fruits and vegetables have different types and quantities of nutrients in them. Those who consume only one type of fruit or vegetable will not be able to get the nutrients that are available in other fruits and vegetables. In order to prevent vitamin deficiencies, it is advisable to have different types of fruits and vegetables in your diet.
Fruit and Vegetable Juices
Fruit and vegetable juices will only count as one portion of fruits and vegetable servings per day. It does not matter how much you drink. It will still count as one portion. The reason for this is because even if the juices have a lot of nutrients, they will still fall behind when it comes to fibre requirements. In addition to the fruit and vegetable juices that you consume everyday, you must eat other fruits and vegetables as well. This will ensure that you get enough nutrients and fibre for your body.
Beans and Other Pulses
Just like fruit and vegetable juices, beans and other pulses only count as one serving portion every day. Again, it does not matter how much of it that you eat. Beans and other pulses contain a lot of fibre although they will fail in comparison when it comes to the nutrients that fruits and vegetables can offer. In order to make up for the lack of nutrients, it is important that you eat the other kinds of fruits and vegetables.
Potatoes are classified as vegetables although they are vegetables that are starchy. Potatoes should not be counted as one of the five portions of fruits and vegetables that you need in a day. Potatoes provide energy more than they provide nutrients and fibre for the body.