What really counts towards your five-a-day? Most common mistakes revealed

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  • We all know we’re supposed to get 5 fruit and veg a day into our diets, but it can be hard, and especially with children and fussy eaters. Are beans a veg? What about a smoothie? It can be a minefield!

    It can also be hard to know what portion sizes we need, although a handy guide can help. And with temptations like the Grand Big Mac and a £1 fry up on menus, resistance is often futile!

    But before you even get measuring, a shocking new survey has shown that some parents aren’t even sure what counts as your five-a-day, with some saying they believe chips count!

    The research from snack brand Fruit Bowl, discovered that only 10 per cent of children are getting their five-a-day and that confusion is still rife amongst parents when it comes to helping their children hit their daily total. A third of parents believed that a fruit yoghurt counts (it doesn’t!) and one in five thought a strawberry milkshake would be in the allowance.

    Meanwhile, fewer than half of parents knew that tinned veg, frozen fruit and sweet potatoes DO count. And – this is one that might fool you, too – many didn’t realise that guacamole, chickpeas and spaghetti hoops all DO count.

    READ MORE: 5-a-day portion sizes: What counts as a portion of fruit and vegetables?

    The majority (86 per cent) of parents agreed that it is important their childrens’ snacks are one of their five-a-day, but it seems 4 in 10 parents think their child gets only 2-3 portions on any given day.

    With children consuming up to 15 snacks each week, parents estimate that only around half of these are healthy snacks, such as fruit based and raw veg, while the rest are sweets, crisps and chocolate. The top excuses for children not eating their fruit and veg include not liking the taste (54 per cent), the texture (25 per cent) or the smell (21 per cent).

    FIVE unexpected foods that DO count towards our five-a-day:

    Baked Beans




    Spaghetti Hoops

    FIVE foods that DON’T count towards our five-a-day:

    Onion rings



    Vegetable Crisps

    Pickled Gherkins