It is easy to eat 5 per day — any kind of fruit and vegetable counts! A serving weighs at least 80 grams according to the WHO, or roughly the equivalent of a tennis ball. At the end of the day, you will easily have reached 5 servings!
5 per day: explanations
Sometimes the message is distorted or misunderstood. The WHO recommends eating at least 5 fruits and vegetables per day. But in fact, we are not talking about 5 fruits and 5 vegetables, but 5 servings of fruits and/or vegetables. Ideally, we should eat more vegetables than fruit and become accustomed to eating vegetables of all kinds: raw, cooked, fresh, frozen, canned, etc. What does this really mean? Your serving could be shredded carrots or a bowl of soup, a side of green beans and a salad, a little tomato sauce, some corn mixed with rice, a few carrots mixed into a pasta dish, a pizza with vegetable toppings, a rice salad with mixed vegetables, or more! Remember that eating at least one raw vegetable is the basis of balanced diet.
What is a serving of vegetables?
The WHO (World Health Organization) estimates the minimum weight of a serving at 80 grams, which is the equivalent volume of a closed fist or a tennis ball. Of course, this is just for reference, and the actual amount varies depending on appetite, age (children eat less), taste, and size. It also varies depending on the vegetable: a soup (200-300 ml) is the equivalent of one serving of vegetables, or you could choose raw vegetables as a side dish as one of your servings. For a pizza, pasta dish, quiche or puree to count as a serving, then there have to be a lot of vegetables included, not just a few for appearance’s sake. Pick the ones you like without forgetting that a balanced diet depends on having a variety.
Does vegetable juice count as a serving?
Yes! Juices retain most of the nutritional qualities of vegetables, though it varies depending on how they were made (pressing, centrifuging, mixing). Only the fibers are taken out, left behind in the presses or centrifuges. Yes, we can eat vegetables. But we can also drink them!
One last bit of advice: if you make sure vegetables take up half your plate, you will be sure of easily reaching the recommended 5 servings per day.