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Vegetables and fruit
All vegetables and fruit - fresh, frozen, canned (in natural juice), dried and juiced - are part of this food group.
Vegetables and fruit are power-packed foods - they are full of valuable nutrients which have lots of health benefits, including:
- Fruits give us plenty of fibre, vitamins, minerals , including folate, potassium, vitamins A & C and phytochemicals (which give the colour)
- A healthy intake of fruit and vegetables helps to protect against major illnesses, such as heart disease and cancer.
- Most fruit and vegetables are low in energy (kilojoules/calories) and are filling, which may help us in maintaining a healthy weight
- Eating a range of coloured fruits and vegetables provides antioxidants, which work together to protect our bodies
How much do we need to eat?
Eat at least five servings of fruit and vegetables every day. This means at least 2 servings of fruit and 3 servings of vegetables.
Typical serving sizes are listed below, but the amount which fits into the palm of your hand is a handy measure for fruit, e.g. 2 apricots for an adult, 1 for a small child.
Fruit serving sizes
- 1 apple, pear, orange
- 2 small apricots or plums
- 1/2 cup fresh fruit salad
- 1/2 cup stewed, canned or frozen fruit
- 1 cup fruit juice (250ml)*
- 1 tablespoon dried fruit*
* Fruit juice and dried fruit contain far more sugar than fresh fruit - have no more than one serving per day.
Vegetable serving sizes
- 1 medium potato or kumara
- 1/2 cup cooked vegetables
- 1/2 cup salad
Tips for eating more fruit and vegetables
- Take fruit to work or school for a convenient and healthy snack
- Eat seasonally - the fruit and vegetables are cheapest and taste the best when they are in season (visit the website below for a list of which products which are in season now)
- Cook vegetables as quickly as possible as the vitamins they contain are destroyed by cooking. Steaming or microwaving is quicker than boiling and will help preserve the vitamins
- Make a smoothie by blending fruit with yoghurt and milk
- Try to incorporate fruit or vegetables into every meal:
- top breakfast cereal with fruit - fresh, canned, dried
- add some tomato, cucumber, grated carrot or lettuce to a sandwich
- extra vegetables can make a tasty addition to casseroles and stews
- capsicum, mushrooms, spinach or rocket add flavour and colour on top of a pizza
- aim to cover half your dinner plate with vegetables or salad - add salad to a meal if it doesn’t contain vegetables.