Fruit and vegetable intake recommendations- do you know how many serves you should be eating?

Adults should be aiming to eat 2 serves of fruit and 5 serves of vegetables every day. Children’s requirements depend on their age. Currently, most of us only manage 50% of our requirement.

Fruits and vegetables are full of vitamins, minerals and fibre, and are also low in kilojoules relative to other foods! Diets high in vegetables, legumes/beans and fruit help to protect us against chronic diseases such as heart disease, and may also help to prevent weight gain.

In light of this information, it’s worth learning some ways to increase the amount of fruits and vegetables you eat daily. But first, just how much is 1 serve of fruit or vegetables?

One serve of vegetables is equal to:

· ½ cup cooked veggies, or ½ a medium potato or other starchy veg

· 1 cup raw salad vegies

· ½ cup cooked dried or canned beans, peas or lentils

One serve of fruit is equal to:

· 1 medium apple, banana, orange or pear

· 2 smaller fruits such as kiwi fruits or plums

Although fruit juice does count towards daily fruit intake, it is recommended that we only occasionally consume fruit juice as it l contains little to no fibre, and is high in kilojoules.

It’s a good idea to try and include a variety of fruits and vegetables, particularly a range of different colours, as different coloured fruit and veg provide a variety of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients.

These amounts may seem like a lot, but it’s actually easier than it sounds- take a look at this website for a pictorial guide of what one day’s worth of fruit and vegetables looks like:

Helpful hints to up your intake!

· “Hiding” vegetables in meals (grating/finely chopping carrot, mushroom or capsicum into Bolognese sauce, using half meat/half lentils or beans in curry or pasta recipes etc)

· Serving vegetable soup (pumpkin, leek and bacon) as an entrée, or side salads alongside main meals

· Serve vegetables as part of every dinner

· Have frozen vegies on hand to quickly add to stir-fry or curry etc.

· Incorporate fruit into dessert- yoghurt and berries, banana ice-cream (pop a banana in the freezer for a few hours, then blend with a tablespoon of yoghurt for a yummy ice-cream alternative)

· Get creative with toast toppings- beans, avocado tomato and asparagus, or spinach tomato and egg.

· Green smoothies made with celery, spinach, cucumber and apple

Remember, aim for progress before perfection!

If you’d like to learn more, visit

Rachael Thompson
Yakult Dietitian APD

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