The benefits of a balanced diet are numerous. No single food contains everything the body needs so it is important to eat a wide variety.
The right amount of vitamins and nutrients can increase life expediency by keeping the heart and body healthy, preventing many long-term illnesses.
The more fruit and vegetables you eat, the better, but you should be aiming to eat at least five portions a day. One portion is equivalent to 80g of fruit or vegetable. This means that any of the items listed below will count as one portion:
- One apple, banana, pear, orange or other similar sized fruit
- Half a grapefruit or avocado
- One slice of large fruit, such as melon, or pineapple
- Three heaped tablespoons of vegetables, which can be raw, cooked frozen, or canned
- Three heaped tablespoons of beans and pulses (however much you eat, beans and pulses count as a maximum of one portion a day )
- Three heaped tablespoons of fruit salad, which can be fresh or canned in fruit juice, or stewed fruit
- One heaped tablespoon of dried fruit, such as raisins and apricots
- One cupful of grapes, cherries or berries
- A dessert bowl of salad
- A glass (150ml) of fruit juice (however much you drink, fruit juice counts as a maximum of one portion a day)
Calcium is important for growing bones and teeth, so make sure they get enough cheese, milk and yoghurt.
Vitamin D will help calcium to be absorbed into the body and you can find it in margarine and oily fish.
Fruit and vegetables help set you up for a healthier lifestyle. Best of all there is so much variety to choose from, all year long, there's enough to keep even the fussiest eaters happy. To get the best health benefits, your "5-a-day" portions should include a combination of a variety of fruit and vegetables. That's 5 portions altogether, not 5 portions of fruit and 5 portions of vegetables.
Five great reasons to eat 5 portions of fruit and vegetables - A DAY!
- They're packed with vitamins and minerals
- They can help you to maintain a healthy weight
- They're an excellent source of fibre and antioxidants
- They help reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and some cancers
- They taste delicious and there's so much variety to choose from
Last updated: Fri 23 Nov 2012 at 10:16