To some people, getting your five a day might seem like a real chore. Many people make up excuses as to why they can’t reach the recommended number; such as money troubles, time, and forgetfulness. Other people simply aren’t even sure if they’re getting their five a day!
It really isn’t as difficult as one might think, turns out, a lot of more counts as part of your five a day than you may have originally thought…
What always count?
- Fresh, frozen, or canned fruit and vegetables will always count as one portion of your five a day. One portion is approximately 80g, and when eating canned fruit or vegetables, we should avoid added salts and sugars.
- Dried fruit also counts as a portion of your five a day, but you only need 30g as opposed to 80g! However the sugars are more present and therefore it is recommended that we eat them as part of a meal and not as a snack inbetween due to their encouragement of tooth decay.
- Fruits and vegetables that are found in other dishes such as stews, pastas, and even soups.
- Fruit and vegetables found in ready-made meals including shop purchased sauces and puddings.
Be careful with these; whilst portions of your five a day might be available within the meal, convenience meals often contain high levels of salt, fat, and sugar and should only be eaten occasionally in small amounts.
Unfortunately, fruit juice does not count as one of our five a day. Whilst smoothies and freshly squeezed fruit juice might seem healthy, it’s actually packed full of sugars; even the unsweetened ones! When fruits are crushed and blended, the sugars in the fruit are released, and these sugars are extremely damaging to our teeth.
The recommended serving of fruit juice is 150ml a day which is one serving. And the NHS recommend diluting fruit juice with water to make it go further and cause less damage on our teeth.
What about potatoes?
We have some bad news, potatoes don’t actually count as one of your five a day. Whilst they are a great source of energy and provide us with B vitamins and potassium, they are a starchy food used in meals in place of other starch sources such as pasta, bread, or rice. This means they can’t be considered as one of our precious five a day. This includes sweet potatoes, swede, parsnips, and turnips as they are also starchy foods.
Other vegetables that do not count as part of your five a day are plantain, cassava, and yams. Whilst none of these delicious foods count, they still provide us with important nutrients and should be cooked/eaten without salt and oil. And keeping the skins on potatoes provide us with more fibre which promotes a healthy digestive system.