Increase fruit & veg intake
SixFix aim for fruit & vegetables – 6 portions per day
Aim for at least 6 portions of fruit & vegetables a day (2 per meal), your “SixFix”. Sounds hard? There are some suggestions below to increase your intake. But first, here’s a bit of guidance on what ‘a portion’ actually is, as per the Government guidelines:
One portion of small fruits is:
- 2 passion fruit, satsumas or kiwi fruit.
- 3 apricots.
- 6 lychees.
- 7 strawberries
- 14 cherries.
One portion of a medium-sized fruit is:
- 1 apple.
- 1 banana.
- 1 pear.
- 1 orange.
- 1 peach.
One portion of large fruit is:
- half a grapefruit.
- quarter of a papaya.
- 1 slice of melon (approx 5cm slice).
- 1large slice of pineapple.
- 2 slices of mango (approx 5cm slices).
I’m not suggesting you weigh, measure or count your fruit and veg each time but having a rough idea is good to ensure that your portion is enough for one of your SixFix.
One portion of dried fruit is around 30g:
- 1 heaped tablespoon of raisins, currants or sultanas,
- 1 tablespoon of mixed fruit
- 2 figs
- 3 prunes
- 4 dried apricots.
Tinned fruit in natural juice
One 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.
Juices and smoothies
One 150ml glass of unsweetened 100% fruit or vegetable juice can count as a portion. But only one glass counts, further glasses of juice don’t count toward your total SixFix I’m afraid.
If you’re buying juice made from concentrate (long life juice) rather than freshly squeezed, make sure you read the label. Anything called ‘juice drink’ contains added sugar, which is good to avoid. The supermarkets are getting sneaky and also putting ‘juice drinks’ in the chillers to make them appear like fresh juice.
One smoothie containing all the edible pulped fruit or vegetable may count as more than one SixFix, but this depends on the quantity of fruits or vegetables and/or juice used, as well as how the smoothie has been made.
For a single smoothie to qualify as being two portions, it must contain either:
- at least 80g of one variety of whole fruit and/or vegetable and at least 150ml of a different variety of 100% fruit and/or vegetable juice, or
- at least 80g of one variety of whole fruit and/or vegetable and at least 80g of another variety of whole fruit and/or vegetable.
Smoothies count as a maximum of two of your SixFix, however much you drink.
- 2 large broccoli spears.
- 4 heaped tablespoons of kale, spinach, spring greens or green beans.
- 3 heaped tablespoons of cooked vegetables, such as carrots, peas or sweetcorn.
- 8 cauliflower florets.
- 1 red pepper.
- 1 medium tomato.
- 3 sticks of celery.
- 4 radishes.
- A 5cm piece of cucumber.
- 7 cherry tomatoes.
Tinned and Frozen Vegetables
Roughly the same quantity as you would eat for a fresh portion, e.g. 3 heaped tablespoons of tinned or frozen carrots, peas or sweetcorn.
Pulses and beans
- 3 heaped tablespoons of baked beans, haricot beans, kidney beans, cannellini beans, butter beans or chickpeas.
- 50 g red, green or brown lentils or yellow split peas.
However much you eat, beans and pulses count as a maximum of 1 of your SixFix.
Potatoes don’t count towards your SixFix. They are classified nutritionally as a starchy food, because when eaten as part of a meal they are usually used in place of other sources of starch such as bread, rice or pasta. Although they don’t count towards your SixFix, potatoes do play an important role in your diet as a starchy food and not forgetting that they still do contain vitamins.
Here are some suggestions to help you increase your fruit & vegetable intake at each meal:
- Handful of sultanas on your wholegrain cereal ( 1 SixFix).
- Chopped up banana on top of your Weetabix ( 1 SixFix).
- Glass of fruit juice (freshly squeezed is great but not always practical – as long as a glass of long life fruit juice isn’t your only fruit & veg intake for the day, it’s better to have ‘from concentrate juice’ than none at all) ( 1 SixFix).
- Baked beans on (wholemeal) toast ( 1 SixFix).
- Lean grilled bacon with 2 grilled tomatoes and a large portabello mushroom ( 2 SixFix).
- A portable fruit pot – chopped up seasonal fruit, e.g. melon, strawberries & blueberries (2 SixFix).
- Coronation Rice Salad in a portable box (2 SixFix).
- Homemade soup in a flask, served with a wholemeal roll (2 SixFix).
- Oaty roll with lean ham, rocket, cucumber & tomato ( ½ SixFix).
- Baked beans on a small (fist-sized) jacket potato (1 SixFix) – or swap the white potato for a sweet potato or half a butternut squash and increase to 2 SixFix! – as long as you haven’t had any other pulses to count towards your total. If you’re sailing past your SixFix total, then extra pulses can only be a good thing!
- Shepherd’s pie with onion, carrots & swede included, served with leek, kale & purple sprouting broccoli (3 SixFix).
- Chilli chicken chow mein with yellow courgette, carrot, red pepper, red onion, chestnut mushrooms, pak choi (2 SixFix).
- Lean lasagne (with onion, tomatoes, courgette & carrot) served with a dessert bowl-sized side salad (3 SixFix).
- Roast chicken served with roast root vegetables (white & sweet potatoes, red onion, carrots, parsnip & swede) and steamed Savoy cabbage (3 SixFix).
- Malaysian prawn curry with red pepper, baby corn, sugar snap peas and carrot (2 SixFix).