What Does the 5 Vegetables & 2 Fruits Serving Suggestion Actually Mean?
April 21, 2023
At some stage in our lives, from our parental figures or media, we've all heard that a healthy diet includes the daily consumption of 5 vegetable and 2 fruit servings. It's a widely accepted adage that has weaved itself into Health 101 teachings across different countries and cultures since its conception by the Swedes in the 70s.
Due to this consistent message being ingrained into us from early childhood, it would be difficult to find someone who doesn't understand 'why' following the 5 & 2 suggestion, rather rule, is important.
What you might discover more likely however, is confusion surrounding the 'how'. How does someone achieve the 5 vegetable & 2 fruit daily recommended intake (DRI)? At first, people might read that and say - well that's stupid, how? Doesn't everyone know how to eat? Of course, we all know how to count from a young age too.
Think of it like this instead. Shaun Lindhe, a spokesperson for AUSVEG, has highlighted that a key issue with Australians reaching their 5 & 2 daily intake is due to many of us not properly understanding the number, as well the size of food we should be consuming to reach a serving. In his own example, one serving of vegetables, like half of a cup of cooked vegetables, is equivalent to one cup of salad vegetables.
Half a cup is equal to one cup. Potentially problematic, right? Unfortunately, this math problem isn't exclusive to vegetables. It also applies to fruit, where for example, a single serving of strawberries is one cup, then compared to a different fruit like grapes, only half a cup is required to reach the same serving. A great general guide to follow is that 75grams of raw vegetables is typically one serve, likewise half a cup of cooked green/orange vegetables is too. Fruit is different, with one serving being achieved through 150grams, or by eating a medium-sized piece of fruit, like an apple or orange.
A serve of vegetables is about 75grams or half a cup of cooked green or orange vegetables. When it comes to salad, a serve is one cup of leafy greens or raw vegetables to equal one serve. For fruit, the standard serve is about 150grams or one medium size piece of fruit, such as an apple or orange.
Consider in addition to the above, to further complicate matters, the various different units we use to measure fruits and vegetables. Cups, ounces, grams, 'eyeballing it'. It's no wonder why such a simple 5 & 2 adage has been misunderstood by so many!
So what's the solution to influencing Australians to meet their 5 vegetable and 2 fruit serving suggestion goals?
Further awareness of the differences between servings of different fruits and vegetables is by no means, the be-all and end-all solution to increasing the number of Australians currently meeting the DRI - which currently accounts for 6.1% of adults and 8.5% of children. Education on serving suggestions for people of all ages however, is undoubtedly a step in the right direction.
That's why here at Perfection Fresh Australia, we're thrilled to have launched our 'Perfect Your Plate' campaign. Through our content showcasing easy-to-replicate recipes, combined with images detailing the distinctions between serving sizes, our followers will have the opportunity not only correctly understand the 5 & 2 message, but then have the means to implement healthy fruits and vegetables into their diet through a variety of delicious and healthy meals.
Keep up with the campaign and see these recipes showcased each week by following our socials linked below.