From milkshakes to fries: Confusion reigns over what counts towards your five-a-day

By Katy Askew

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Five-a-day Fruit Vegetables diet

Most parents believe it is important that their kids eat five portions of fruit and veg each day. But fresh research finds considerable confusion over what counts as one of your five-a-day, with some parents pointing to chips and milkshakes.

Consumer research, commissioned by healthy snacking group Fruit Bowl, suggests around 90% of under-10s in the UK aren’t getting their five-a-day. Four in ten parents think their children only eat two-to-three portions on any given day, according to the survey.

It seems there is some confusion over what constitutes a portion of fruit or veg. The survey revealed one in ten parents think chips count as a veg serving. While a third of parents believe fruit yogurts – which are often high in sugar – are a portion of fruit. And one in five suggested that a strawberry milkshake also counts.

Fewer than half of parents knew foods like tinned veg, frozen fruit, sweet potatoes and turnips represent a portion of fruit or vegetables. And ‘almost all’ respondents were fooled by things like spaghetti hoops, guacamole and chickpeas, which are all part of your five a day.

This confusion – and failure to hit the five-a-day target - can have significant consequences for healthy development.

Fruit and vegetables contain a variety of key nutrients vital for the growth and development of children," ​nutritional therapist, Filomena Komodromou, noted. "For example, vitamin C, found in strawberries, broccoli, peppers and kiwis, boost our immune system. They also contain fibre which is important for improving gut health.”

Fruit Bowl, a UK-based children’s snack company, suggested that snacks could be an ideal opportunity to boost how much fruit and veg kids eat.

The company noted children eat up to 15 snacks a week. Parents in the survey said around half of these were sweets, crisps or chocolate.

Here at Fruit Bowl we are a team of parents and know firsthand how difficult it can be to make sure our children get their five-a-day, every day, and we know it’s a struggle that lots of other parents have. By conducting this survey, we aim to highlight this and also show busy parents that there are easy solutions, tips and tricks they can use to give their children five-a-day," ​Susanne Fraser, marketing manager of Fruit Bowl, said.

Foods that don't count as a portion of fruit or vegetables include:

  1. Onion rings
  2. Ketchup
  3. Potatoes
  4. Vegetable Crisps
  5. Pickled Gherkins

While five unexpected foods that do count towards our five-a-day are:

  1. Baked Beans
  2. Guacamole
  3. Onions
  4. Hummus
  5. Spaghetti Hoops

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