A Simple Guide to Your Five+ a Day

How do I eat 5-10 fruits and veg a day? It seems impossible!

Firstly don’t worry, this shouldn’t feel like a punishment!

I usually recommend that people start by adding extra veg and fruit into their usual diet, so the changes aren’t too overwhelming.

For example:

Breakfast – if your usual breakfast is say oats and milk – add chopped banana and a handful blueberries. For an extra fibre boost sprinkle on some seeds too. If you’re having eggs – add avocado and some wilted spinach.

Lunch – Sandwich and crisps? – add a side salad or hummus and some chopped carrots, celery, peppers, radishes etc to dip in. You could even oven cook some kale until it’s crispy to replace the crisps – it’s nicer than it sounds!

Snack – Have a price of fruit, a handful of nuts, 3 pieces of dried apricots.

Dinner – Spaghetti Bolognese? Swap to wholemeal spaghetti, add carrots, celery, mushrooms to the Bolognese, add a side salad or a vegetable side (pan fried vegetables with chilli and garlic makes them even more delicious).

Other ideas to easily increase your vegetable and fruit intake are:

  • Roast a selection of vegetables – ie peppers, courgettes, onions, tomatoes, asparagus, mushrooms, broccoli, aubergine etc. Then store them in the fridge. – add to omelettes, frittatas, soups, casseroles for an extra veg hit.
  • Have a stir fry for your evening meal – a great, tasty way of upping the veg quantity. Add garlic, ginger, chilli pepper, miso paste and top with roasted nuts for extra gut loving properties!
  • Add extra beans to a chilli con carne  – kidney beans, black beans, pinto, cannellini all work or make it veggie based – Jamie Oliver has a great recipe for this.
  • Swap meat for lentils, try quorn or soy mince in bolognese – Gizzi Erskine’s vegan bolognese recipe in her book Slow, using soy mince tastes just like the real thing!
  • Make vegetable curries – Most vegetables work well in a curry – cauliflower, spinach, sweet potatoes and chickpeas are some of my favourites – the spices add extra diversity too.
  • Make your snacks count – apple and nut butter, dried fruits, chopped veggies and dips keep you full between meals, increase fibre and can help you add more diversity.
  • Make your protein plant based (even once a week can improve diversity) – replace meat with chickpeas, beans, lentils, soy, tofu, tempeh.
  • Make a smoothie – mix in fruits and veg for extra diversity –  However remember that regardless of quantity, this only counts as one portion of your 5 a day.


NOTE – having a constant supply of fresh fruit and veg in your fridge is such a privilege and is something that many cannot afford due to finance or space etc. Please remember that tinned and frozen fruits & vegetables are just as good and can be a cost effective solution which can be more easily stored.

What counts as one of my five a day?

The NHS has a great guide, but as a quick snap shot:

  • 1 150ml glass of fruit or veg juice (if you have two it still only counts as one)
  • 2 small pieces of fruit – two satsumas/kiwi/plum
  • 1 medium fruit -apple, banana, pears, orange
  • 20 raspberries
  • 8 broccoli florets
  • 7 cherry tomatoes or 1 medium tomatoes
  • 3 heaped spoon fulls of beans/lentils/chick peas
  • 3 dried apricots
  • 1 cereal bowl of salad levels, chopped kale, spinach.
  • 1/2 an avocado
  • 1 medium sweet potato
  • 3 heaped tablespoons of peas/sweet corn


Do potatoes count as one of my five a day?

Sadly not – sweet potatoes do but not white potatoes.

White potatoes are great and do contain fibre, vitamin C and potassium but they are classed as a starch.

In some countries they do count as one of your 5 a day though. Maybe here in the UK we can’t be trusted not to class our chippy fish and chips as one of our 5 a day!


Get in touch today to see how I can help improve your own five a day intake.