Tips & How-to

Why you should eat two fruit and five veg

And what a serve actually looks like

According to Nutrition Australia, the foundation of the healthy eating pyramid (of which 2 fruit, 5 veg hails) was born in Sweden in the 1970s.

The idea started with a simple ‘more to less’ idea that was illustrated in the form of a 4-layered pyramid. At the bottom, in the ‘eat more’ category sat fruit and veg.

Healthy eating pyramid

How many servings of fruit and veg per day?

The Australian Dietary Guidelines which includes 2 fruit and 5 veg, have been around since those early days of the Healthy Eating Pyramid.

Nutrition Australia says the guidelines are there to “provide advice on the amounts and types of foods that we should consume every day for good health and to reduce our risk of diet-related diseases.”

What does 1 serving of vegetables look like?

A standard serve of vegetables equates to about half a cup. So that’s roughly one small to medium sized carrot, about 3-4 medium florets of broccoli, a large handful of peas, a handful of spinach and about 6 cherry tomatoes.

eatforhealth.gov.au says 1 serve of veg is

  • 1/2 cup cooked carrots, spinach, broccoli, pumpkin
  • 1 cup green leaves or raw salad vegetables
  • 1/2 cup sweetcorn
  • 1/2 medium potato
2 serves of veg
2 serves of veg look like this

What is the fruit serving size?

Two fruit 5 veg is an Australian recommendation. Worldwide, WHO recommends no less than 400g of combined fruit and veg per day. 

To get your 2 serves of fruit per day, eatforhealth.gov.au provides the following as a guide.

1 serve of fruit looks like

  • 1 medium apple, banana, orange or pear
  • 2 small apricots, kiwi fruits or plums
  • 1 cup diced or canned fruit (no added sugar)
  • 125ml fruit juice (no added sugar)
  • 30g dried fruit (eg 2 dried apricots. 1 + 1/2 Tbsp sultanas)

What happens if you eat more/less than 2 fruit and 5 veg?

Eating more than the recommended amount of veg is rarely a problem. As long a you’re mixing it up and not counting potato chips as a serve.

When it comes to fruit, it’s worth remembering it contains sugar. So sticking to the recommended 2 a day is a good idea. Eating less than the recommended amount is where the problems lie.

According to the Australia’s Health 2018 report n 2014-2015 only 50% of adults ate the recommended 2 serves of fruit and only 7% ate the daily 5 serves of vegetables.

The World Health Organization (WHO) says “Insufficient intake of fruit and vegetables is estimated to cause around 14% of gastrointestinal cancer deaths, about 11% of ischaemic heart disease deaths and about 9% of stroke deaths globally.”

Here are some ways to increase your daily serve of vegetables 

  • Stir fry with capsicum strips, carrot, onion and snow peas
  • A spoonful of sauerkraut with your poached eggs on toast
  • Roasted vegetable salad with pumpkin, beetroot and sweet potato, mixed with raw spinach, cucumber and asparagus

Even fussy kids can get their daily vegetables. Add a cup of spinach per person to bolognese or other pasta sauces. Mix it in well so it melts and they’ll hardly notice.

Eating your daily 2 and 5 is important for good health so why not decide to make a habit of adding a few of slices of cucumber or tomato to your sandwich today!

5 serves of veg
Each half contains 1 serve of veg

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