What Does 5 Serves Of Veggies Look Like?

5 serves you say? So what is a serve?

I often have clients saying to me, “oh yeah – I easily meet 5 serves of veg a day.” But often they don’t realise what one serve actually is and are a little shocked when we go through serving sizes in a little more detail. So, what better time to talk about what a serve looks like, than during National Nutrition Week.

The Australian Guide to Healthy Eating (www.eatforhealth.gov.au) provides guidance around what a serve is and the number of serves we need per day to reach our nutritional recommendations. I’ve summarised these guidelines for you below.

Vegetables & Legumes/Beans

A standard serve of vegetables is about 75g:

½ cup Cooked green or orange vegetables Broccoli, spinach, carrots or pumpkin
1 cup Green leafy or raw salad veggies Rocket, lettuce, cucumber,
½ cup Cooked, dried of canned beans, peas or lentils
½ medium Potato or other starchy vegetables Sweet potato, cassava or taro
1 medium Tomato

Children and Adolescents:

2-3 years 4-8 years 9-11 years 12-13 years 14-18 years
Girls 2 ½ 4 ½ 5 5 5
Boys 2 ½ 4 ½ 5 5 ½ 5 ½


19-50 years 51-70 years  70 years +
Women 5 5 5
Men 6 5 ½ 5

Pregnancy + Breastfeeding:

18 years or under 19-50 years  
Pregnant 5 5


5 ½ 7 ½

So, let’s make it practical. Check out a meal plan suggestion below where we specifically look at including 5 serves of vegetables across the day.

Breakfast – typically Australian’s are very poor at including veggies at breakfast. A great way would to include veggies at breakfast would be adding some ½ – 1 cup or sautéed spinach and mushrooms to an omelette or egg dish. This would give you 1- 1 ½  serves of veggies for the day! Winning!

Lunch – go heavy handed with the salad in your sandwich or wrap. Try to add 2 cups of salad veggies to your lunch. This might look like 1 cup of salad leaves and another cup of sliced cucumber, shredded carrot and beetroot. This equate to 2 serves of veggies.

Getting closer….3 serves down….2 to go.

Dinner –we are pretty good at including salad and/or veggies at dinner. Try and do the healthy plate model and make up ½ the plate with salad or veggies.  I suggest adding ½ small roasted sweet potato to your evening meal (1 serve), along with ½– 1 cup of roasted carrot and zucchini (1 serve).

And voila! There you have it….5 serves DONE + DUSTED.

Emma Caldwell
Accredited Practicing Dietitian
Fitwise Physiotherapy
Consulting at our Armadale and East Melbourne rooms

Source: https://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/sites/default/files/content/The%20Guidelines/n55g_adult_brochure.pdf

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