Your daily quota

Your daily quota

Leigh Carter

Personal Training Milton Keynes

Private Gym


How much fruit and vegetables should we eat every day? Experts say that 10 would be the optimum number. The more fruit and vegetables you eat, the more you will prolong your life, slowing the risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer, type-two diabetes and obesity, so however much you are eating now, eat more.

A study examined the eating habits of 65,000 people in England between 2001 and 2013.
They found that seven helpings a day of fruit or vegetables could reduce a person’s overall risk of premature death by 42 per cent when compared with people who ate just one whole portion.
People who ate between five and seven portions a day had a 36 per cent reduced risk of death, those who ate three to five portions had a 29 per cent decreased risk and those who ate one to three helpings had a 14 per cent reduced risk. Those with the highest intakes were also 25 per cent less likely to die from cancer and 31 per cent less likely to die from heart disease.

The study also found that vegetables were far more beneficial than fruit. Each portion of vegetables lowered the risk of death by 16 per cent. However, each piece of fruit only lowered the chance of death by 4 per cent.

So what does one portion look like – fresh fruit or vegetables should be 80g and a rough guide would be:

The fruit:

  • One portion is two or more small fruit, for example two plums, two satsumas, two kiwi fruit, three apricots, six lychees, seven strawberries or 14 cherries.
  • One portion is one piece of fruit, such as one apple, banana, pear, orange or nectarine.
  • One portion is half a grapefruit, one slice of papaya, one slice of melon (5cm slice), one large slice of pineapple or two slices of mango (5cm slices).
  • A portion of dried fruit is around 30g. This is about one heaped tablespoon of raisins, currants or sultanas, one tablespoon of mixed fruit, two figs, three prunes or one handful of dried banana chips.
  • However, dried fruit is high in sugar and can be bad for your teeth. Try to swap dried fruit for fresh fruit, especially between meals.
  • One portion of canned fruit in natural juice is roughly the same quantity of fruit that you would eat for a fresh portion, such as two pear or peach halves, six apricot halves or eight segments of tinned grapefruit.

The veggies:

  • One portion would be two broccoli spears or four heaped tablespoons of cooked kale, spinach, spring greens or green beans.
  • Three heaped tablespoons of cooked vegetables, such as carrots, peas or sweetcorn, or eight cauliflower florets count as one portion.
  • Three sticks of celery, a 5cm piece of cucumber, one medium tomato or seven cherry tomatoes count as one portion.
  • Canned or frozen vegetables are roughly the same quantity as you would eat for a fresh portion. For example, three heaped tablespoons of tinned or frozen carrots, peas or sweetcorn count as one portion each. Choose those canned in water, with no added salt or sugar.
    Three heaped tablespoons of baked beans, haricot beans, kidney beans, cannellini beans, butter beans or chickpeas count as one portion each. But remember however much you eat, beans and pulses count as a maximum of one portion a day.
  • Potatoes don’t count towards your targeted portions and it is the same for yams, cassava and plantain too. They are classified nutritionally as a starchy food, because when eaten as part of a meal they are usually used in place of other sources of starch, such as bread, rice or pasta. Although they don’t count towards your daily veggie portions, potatoes do play an important role in your diet as a starchy food.
  • Other root vegetables, such as sweet potatoes, parsnips, swedes and turnips, are usually eaten as a vegetable along side the main starchy food in a meal. These count towards your fruit and veg portions.
  • One 150ml glass of unsweetened 100% fruit or vegetable juice can count as a portion. But only one glass counts, so further glasses of juice don’t count towards your total portions. Even unsweetened fruit juice is sugary, so limit your intake to no more than one glass (about 150ml) of fruit juice each day.
  • A smoothie containing all the edible pulped fruit or vegetable may count as more than one portion, but this depends on the quantity of fruits or vegetables or juice used, as well as how the smoothie has been made.
  • To qualify as two portions, a single smoothie must contain either at least 80g of one variety of whole fruit and/or vegetable and at least 150ml of a different variety of 100% fruit and/or vegetable juice, or at least 80g of one variety of whole fruit and/or vegetable and at least 80g of another variety of whole fruit and/or vegetable.

Remember more veggies than fruit and try to hit that optimum number “10”.


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