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5 a day for babies

Fruit & vegetables are a staple during the first stages of weaning, but many parents don’t know how much they should feed their baby, once weaning is established.

Why do we need 5-a-day?

  • Fruit & vegetables are part of a balanced diet and keep us healthy
  • Fruit & vegetables are a good source of vitamin and minerals, including potassium, vitamin C and folate.
  • Fruit & vegetables are a good source of dietary fibre, which helps maintain a healthy gut and prevent constipation.
  • A diet including plenty of fruit & vegetables helps reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and some cancers.
  • They taste great and there is a wide variety to choose from.

The type of food offered in infancy can predict foods that will still be in their diet when they are older, so including 5 different portions of fruit & vegetables in a baby’s daily diet will help them to learn to love a wide variety.

What is one portion for a baby?

5-a-day advice for adults is based upon the World Health Organisation guidance which recommends eating at least 400g of fruit & vegetables a day.

This makes the recommended size for one portion of fruit or veg for an adult approximately 80g. As there are not yet any formal recommendations for baby or toddler portion sizes our nutritionists suggests using the following as a guide:

  • At stage 1 (from about 6 months) one portion is equal to 30g
  • At stage 2 (from 7 months) one portion is equal to 35g
  • At stage 3 (from 10 months) one portion is equal to 40g

The toddler portion sizes are based on guidelines issued by the Caroline Walker Trust and the younger portion sizes have been scaled down from these.

One portion of fruit juice is 60ml for stage 1, 70ml for stage 2 and 75ml for stage 3. Juice can only count as one portion per day, no matter how much is drunk.

HiPP Nutritionist Helen looks at how babies and toddlers can reach their 5-a-day

What fruit & veg counts towards 5-a-day?

All fruits - fresh, frozen or tinned (in natural juice or water, with no added sugar). Dried fruit counts as one portion per day, but no more.

All vegetables - fresh, frozen or tinned (in natural juice or water, with no added salt or sugar) except potatoes, cassava, yams or plaintain as they mostly contribute to starch in the diet.

Fruit and vegetable juice - No matter how much you drink, juice can only contribute to 1 portion of 5-a-day. This is because it doesn’t contain the edible fruit pulp. Smoothies can count as a maximum of 2 portions a day, as long as they contain 2 different portions of fruits or vegetables.

Beans & other pulses also contribute to 1 portion per day, but no more, as they do not contain as many vitamins and minerals as other vegetables.

Tips on how to reach 5-a-day:

  • Here are some handy tips to ensure babies get their 5-a-day:
  • Adding pureed, mashed or chopped fruit to breakfast cereal
  • Offering chopped pieces of soft fruit or vegetable sticks with homemade dips for a snack
  • Making tasty desserts by mixing pureed, mashed or chopped fruit with natural yogurt, fromage frais (with no added sugar) or baby rice.
  • Most HiPP jars and desserts contain a portion of fruit or veg. Our new fruit pouches contain up to 2 of a baby’s 5-a-day fruit portions.

Monitoring baby's fruit and veg intake - downloadable chart

A variety of fruits and vegetables need to be offered every day. Foods with the same colour contain similar nutrients so by eating a rainbow of colours it will ensure that your little one gets all the important nutrients they need.

We have created a downloadable 5-a-day chart for parents to monitor what the whole family are eating.

Our products

Each fruit or vegetable-containing HiPP product now tells you how many portions it contains, making it easier for parents to monitor. This information is found on the back of each pack in the heart bullet points.

Tips for getting 5 a day on a budget

  • Buying loose fruit and veg, rather than packeted which is generally more expensive. You can then also buy the amount of you need, and avoid waste.
  • Reduce your carbon footprint and support British farmers by eating seasonally. When certain fruits & veg are in season they will be cheaper
  • Fruit & veg are often cheaper at your local market
  • Rather than throw away fruit and veg that are over-ripe, they can be used in cooking - in purees, stews or casseroles and smoothies
  • Make quick meals from scratch for the whole family using canned tomatoes and herbs or spices as a basis for main meals, instead of using expensive pre-prepared sauces, which are often high in salt and sugar.
  • Frozen veg counts towards 5-a-day and is often cheaper than fresh.
  • Cooking in bulk and freezing dishes to use at a later date.

For more tips on 5-a-day take a look at the NHS choices website