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 (Ministry of Health, 2020).

Typical serving sizes are listed below, but the amount which fits into the palm of your hand is a handy measure, e.g. 2 apricots for an adult, and 1 for a small child.

Vegetable serving sizes

  • 1/2 cup cooked vegetables (pūhā, watercress, silverbeet, kamokamo (squash), carrot, broccoli)
  • 1 cup salad
  • 1 medium tomato
  • 1 medium potato or kūmara

Fruit serving sizes

  • 1 apple, pear, orange
  • 2 small apricots or plums
  • 1 cup diced or canned fruit (drained and
    with no added sugar), eg, pineapple,
  • 1 cup frozen fruit, eg, mango, berries.

* Dried fruit contains far more sugar than fresh fruit – have no more than one serving per day.

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 fruit25 easy ways to get more veges

For more information about fruit and vegetables, visit and 


Ministry of Health. 2020. Eating and Activity Guidelines for New Zealand Adults: Updated 2020. Wellington: Ministry of Health.


Last modified: March 19, 2024