5 A DAY: what counts?

Almost all fruit and vegetables count towards your 5 A DAY, making it easier than you may think to get your recommended amount each day.

Fruit and vegetables don't have to be fresh to count as a portion. Nor do they have to be eaten on their own: they also count if they're part of a meal or dish.

A wide variety

To get the most benefit from your five portions, eat a wide variety of fruit and vegetables.

What counts towards 5 a Day?

The following count towards your 5 A DAY:

  • Fresh fruit and vegetables.
  • Frozen fruit and vegetables.
  • Tinned or canned fruit and vegetables. Buy the ones tinned in natural juice or water, with no added sugar or salt.
  • Dried fruit, such as currants, dates, sultanas and figs.
  • Fruit and vegetables cooked in dishes such as soups, stews or pasta dishes.
  • A glass (150ml) of unsweetened 100% fruit or vegetable juice. Juice counts as a maximum of one portion a day, however much you drink. That's mainly because juice contains less fibre than whole fruits and vegetables.
  • Smoothies. A smoothie containing all of the edible pulped fruit and/or vegetable may count as more than one portion but this depends on how it's made. Smoothies count as up to a maximum of two portions per day. For more details, see 5 A DAY FAQs.
  • Beans and pulses. These only count as one portion a day, no matter how many you eat. That's because they contain fewer nutrients than other fruits and vegetables.
  • Fruit and veg in convenience foods, such as ready meals and shop-bought pasta sauces, soups and puddings. Some ready-made foods are high in salt, sugar and fat, so only have them occasionally or in small amounts. You can find the salt, sugar and fat content of ready-made foods on the label. For more information, see Food labels.

Do potatoes count towards 5 A DAY?

Potatoes are a vegetable, but they don't count towards your 5 A DAY.

Potatoes are classified nutritionally as a starchy food. That's because the main nutrient in potatoes is starch (carbohydrate). Also, when eaten as part of a meal potatoes are generally used in place of other sources of starch, such as bread, pasta or rice.

Other vegetables that don't count towards your 5 A DAY are yams, cassava and plaintain: they are also usually eaten as starchy foods.

However, other root vegetables such as sweet potatoes, parsnips, swedes and turnips do count toward your 5 A DAY, because they are usually eaten in addition to the starchy food part of the meal.

While potatoes don't count towards your 5 A DAY, they do play an important role in your diet. They are a great choice of starchy food, particularly if they are not cooked in too much salt or fat. They are a good source of energy, fibre, B vitamins and potassium. Although potaoes don't contain much vitamin C compared to other vegetables, in Britain we get a lot of our daily vitamin C from them because we eat so many.