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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.

Click the links to read the following resources 25 easy ways to get more fruit 25 easy ways to get more veges

For more information about fruit and vegetables, visit www.5aday.co.nz and www.vegetables.co.nz 

Last modified: January 26, 2022