A recent article published by the Independent has highlighted that Nurseries are reducing the fresh fruit and vegetable portions given to children because of cuts that are threatening to shut nearly one in five in England’s poorest areas, a charity has warned. Some childcare providers have been forced to offer young children tinned food and “fatty” meats due to a shortfall in government funding, according to the Early Years Alliance (EYA).

A report has revealed that 17 per cent of providers, including nurseries, pre-schools and childminders, in the most deprived areas of the country anticipate being shut in the next year.

At Cherry Childcare we are deeply saddened to hear such news as we always take great pride in offering healthy and nutritious meals to our children to ensure better wellbeing, better health and resulting in happier children!

Everyone should have at least 5 portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables every day. An adult portion of fruit or vegetables is 80g.

The guide below will give you an indication of typical portion sizes for adults.

Children should also eat at least 5 portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables a day.

The amount of food a child needs varies with age, body size and levels of physical activity.

As a rough guide, 1 portion is the amount they can fit in the palm of their hand.

Below is a guide from NHS Health UK:

5 A Day fruit portions

Small-sized fresh fruit

A portion is 2 or more small fruit – for example, 2 plums, 2 satsumas, 2 kiwi fruit, 3 apricots, 6 lychees, 7 strawberries or 14 cherries.

Medium-sized fresh fruit

A portion is 1 piece of fruit, such as 1 apple, banana, pear, orange or nectarine.

Large fresh fruit

A portion is half a grapefruit, 1 slice of papaya, 1 slice of melon (5cm slice), 1 large slice of pineapple or 2 slices of mango (5cm slices).

Dried fruit

A portion of dried fruit is around 30g. This is about 1 heaped tablespoon of raisins, currants or sultanas, 1 tablespoon of mixed fruit, 2 figs, 3 prunes or 1 handful of dried banana chips. 

But dried fruit can be high in sugar and can be bad for your teeth.

Try to swap dried fruit for fresh fruit, especially between meals.

To reduce the risk of tooth decay, dried fruit is best enjoyed as part of a meal – as dessert, for example, not as a between meal snack.

Tinned or canned fruit

A portion is roughly the same quantity of fruit that you would eat for a fresh portion, such as 2 pear or peach halves, 6 apricot halves or 8 segments of tinned grapefruit.

Choose fruit canned in natural juice, rather than syrup.

5 A Day vegetable portions

Green vegetables

A portion is 2 broccoli spears or 4 heaped tablespoons of cooked kale, spinach, spring greens or green beans.

Cooked vegetables

A portion is 3 heaped tablespoons of cooked vegetables, such as carrots, peas or sweetcorn, or 8 cauliflower florets.

Salad vegetables

A portion is 1.5 full-length celery sticks, a 5cm piece of cucumber, 1 medium tomato or 7 cherry tomatoes.

Tinned and frozen vegetables

Roughly the same quantity as you would eat for a fresh portion. For example, 3 heaped tablespoons of tinned or frozen carrots, peas or sweetcorn count as 1 portion each.

For tinned, choose those canned in water with no added salt or sugar.

Pulses and beans

A portion is 3 heaped tablespoons of baked beans, haricot beans, kidney beans, cannellini beans, butter beans or chickpeas.

Remember, however much you eat, beans and pulses count as a maximum of 1 portion a day.


Potatoes don't count towards your 5 A Day. This is the same for yams, cassava and plantain, too. 

They're classified nutritionally as a starchy food, because when eaten as part of a meal they're usually used in place of other sources of starch, such as bread, rice or pasta. 

Although they don't count towards your 5 A Day, potatoes do play an important role in your diet as a starchy food.

You can learn more in 5 A Day: what counts?

5 A Day in juices and smoothies

Unsweetened 100% fruit juice, vegetable juice and smoothies can only ever count as a maximum of 1 portion of your 5 A Day.

For example, if you have 2 glasses of fruit juice and a smoothie in 1 day, that still only counts as 1 portion.

Smoothies include any drink made up of any combination of fruit or vegetable juice, purée, or all the edible pulped fruit or vegetable.

Your combined total of drinks from fruit juice, vegetable juice and smoothies shouldn't be more than 150ml a day, which is a small glass.

For example, if you have 150ml of orange juice and 150ml smoothie in 1 day, you'll have exceeded the recommendation by 150ml.

When fruit is blended or juiced, it releases the sugars. This increases the risk of tooth decay, so it's best to drink fruit juice or smoothies at mealtimes.

Whole fruits are less likely to cause tooth decay because the sugars are contained within the structure of the fruit.

Watch out for drinks that say "juice drink" on the pack as they're unlikely to count towards your 5 A Day and can be high in sugar.

5 A Day and ready-made foods

Fruit and vegetables contained in shop-bought ready-made foods can also count toward your 5 A Day.

Always read the label. Some ready-made foods contain high levels of fat, salt and sugar, so only have them occasionally or in small amounts as part of a healthy, balanced diet.

Find out more about food labels

See more examples of 5 A Day portion sizes (PDF, 110kb).

Got a question about 5 A Day?

If you have a question that isn't answered in our 5 A Day FAQs, please email the 5 A Day team at Public Health England:

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