A quick Google search gives you a variety of answers. Headers like “5-a-day portion sizes”, “How to get your 7-a-day”, and “10 is better” feature among the results.
Since the ‘5-a-day campaign’ was launched in 2003, a lot more research has gone into how much fruit and veg we should really be consuming, and many experts have concluded that the number should, in fact, be nearer double that amount.
Do you think 7-10 sounds unrealistic? Well, that could well be why the UK Government set the bar a little lower. 5-a-day is certainly achievable and being told to eat any more than this could overwhelm the public.
What we do know is: fruit and veg intake is great for our overall health. It works wonders with bodyweight management and has been commonly associated with reducing the risk of chronic and degenerative diseases. Besides, what’s 7-a-day compared to Japan’s 17-a-day?
There is certainly a great variety and selection of these nutritional delights, but just how many should we be eating? Let’s investigate.
What are they doing over there?
Most countries have adopted the rule of 5 for their nutritional health campaigns, including the UK, the US, France, Spain and Mauritius.
In terms of the awareness that has been brought to the subject, the campaigns have been successful. The idea isn’t to force-feed children fruit and veg in schools but simply to raise that awareness of what they should be doing to keep themselves healthy.
However, as experts continue to investigate the subject, they’re being increasingly inclined to increase that recommended intake to at least 7 a day as this has further proven health benefits. Those consuming 3-5 a day have a 29% lower risk of dying from any cause, while those consuming 7-a-day have a greater chance of a prolonged existence at 37%.
Countries including Canada, Australia and Denmark already have campaigned promoting the consumption of 6-10 fruit and veg daily.
What counts as a portion?
So now we know how many – how much? We’ll check the NHS’s recommended numbers for this one:
Fresh fruit is split into 3 different sizes: small, medium and large.
In terms of small fruits, a portion is 2 or more, such as
- 2 Satsumas
- 3 Apricots
- 7 Strawberries
- 14 Cherries
For medium fruits, it’s a simple:
- 1 Apple
- 1 Pear
- 1 Banana
- 1 Orange
For larger fruits, you’ll need:
- ½ grapefruit
- ½ mango
- 1 decent-sized slice of pineapple, melon or papaya
When it comes to fresh vegetables, you’re aiming for:
- 2 broccoli stems
- 4 heaped tablespoons of kale or spinach
- 3 heaped tablespoons of sweetcorn, carrots or peas
Any tinned vegetables should follow the same quantities as their fresh counterparts.
Pulses and Beans
Pulses and Beans offer a delicious new dimension to getting your daily intake. You can count 3 heaped tablespoons of Baked Beans, Haricot Beans, Kidney Beans, Cannellini Beans, Butter Beans or Chickpeas towards your daily aggregate.