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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 5 servings of vegetables and 2 servings of fruit every day.
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 tablespoon dried fruit*
* Dried fruit contains far more sugar than fresh fruit - have no more than one serving per day.
Vegetable serving sizes
- 1/2 cup cooked vegetables
- 1 cup salad
- 1 medium potato or kūmara
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 5+ A Day's What's Available page for a list of produce 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 and veg 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.