Fruit, vegetables and wholegrains
One of the easiest ways to stay healthy is to eat plenty of fruit, vegetables and wholegrains. Less than 10% of Australians eat the recommended amount of fruit and vegetables and less than a third of us eat the recommended serve of wholegrains.
Fruit and vegetables
Fruit and vegetables contain lots of fibre, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. A diet full of a variety of fruits and vegetables can help protect against heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers.
How much to eat
Aim to eat at least five serves of vegetables and two serves of fruit every day.
The recommended amount is slightly different for children, pregnant women or breastfeeding mothers. For more information on what's right for you, visit the Australian Dietary Guidelines or talk to an Accredited Practising Dietitian.
What is a serve?
- Apple, banana, orange or pear
1 medium piece
- Apricots, plums, kiwi fruit
2 small pieces
- Diced/canned fruit (no syrup)
- Juice (have only occasionally)
½ cup (125 ml)
- Dried fruit (have only occasionally)
30 g (small handful)
- Cooked vegetables
- Raw or salad vegetables
- Potato, sweet potato and other starchy vegetables
½ medium piece
- Cooked peas, beans or lentils
How to eat more fruit and vegetables
- For breakfast, add chopped fresh fruit to your cereal or porridge.
- Blend a fruit and vegetable smoothie. You could include some strawberries, baby spinach or banana and reduced-fat milk.
- Add salad to your wholegrain sandwich. Try grated carrot or cucumber in a cheese or peanut butter sandwich. Spinach leaves, tomato and finely cut up onion and mushrooms work well in a toasted sandwich.
- Choose a variety of types and colours of fruit and vegetables. The different colours offer different healthy nutrients.
- Aim for a meat-free meal once a week, and replace the meat with legumes.
- Eating out? Choose vegetable-based pasta sauces, vegetable toppings for pizzas or stir-frys with lots of greens. Make sure you order salad or vegetables with your meal.
- Fresh, frozen, canned and dried fruit and vegetables all count towards your daily amount. Frozen and canned vegetables can be just as healthy as fresh ones. Read the nutrition information panel to avoid added salt and sugar in these varieties.
- Serve fruit for morning and afternoon tea, or try carrot or cucumber sticks. Chop the fruit and vegetables up in the morning and store in air-tight containers in the fridge for when you get hungry.
- Plan your main meal around vegetables. Add an extra serve of vegetables to each main meal. Add legumes (beans, peas or lentils) to meat or poultry dishes – this adds more vegetables and makes the meat go further.
- Choose fruit and vegetables that are in season because they’re fresher and cheaper.
Grains include wheat, corn (maize), rice, barley, oats, rye, millet, and quinoa. These grains can be eaten whole or processed into products like couscous (wheat) and polenta (maize). They can also be ground to be used to make grain foods like bread, breakfast cereals, pasta, and noodles.
Wholegrain foods are healthier than white or refined grain foods. Because wholegrain cereals include more of the natural grain, they have more of their nutrients, like dietary fibre, B vitamins, vitamin E, and healthy fats.
How much to eat
Most adults should aim for four to six serves of wholegrains a day.
What is one serving of wholegrains?
- Wholegrain bread
1 slice (40 g)
- Wholegrain bread roll or flatbread
1 medium (40 g)
- Wholegrain rice, pasta, noodles, barley, buckwheat, semolina, polenta, bulgur or quinoa
½ cup (75–120 g)
- Cooked porridge
½ cup (120 g)
- Wheat cereal flakes
2/3 cup (30 g)
¼ cup (30 g)
3 (35 g)
How to eat more wholegrains
- Try a wholegrain or high fibre breakfast cereal like rolled oats, porridge or untoasted muesli.
- Swap white bread for wholemeal or wholegrain. Look for the words ‘wholegrain’ or ‘wholemeal’ on the label.
- Variety is the key to healthy eating. When planning your meals for the week, make sure you include a variety of foods. If you have pasta one night, go for brown rice or couscous another night.
- Watch your portion size. Rice and pasta can be easy to over-serve. For your main meal, keep to ½ - 1 cup (cooked) rice or pasta and load up on vegetables instead.
- Try brown rice and wholemeal pasta.