Government food recommendations
The Ministry of Health Eating and Activity Guidelines (2020), provide comprehensive guidance to support health living. These guidelines suggest adults should eat at least 5 servings of vegetables per day.
The guidelines do vary a little by age, gender and needs - see below:
From the age of four, children should eat at least 4 servings of vegetables per day. These recommendations also vary by age and gender, as shown below.
A standard serving of vegetables is about 75g, which is about the same as:
- ½ cup cooked vegetables (eg, pūhā, watercress, silverbeet, kamokamo (squash), carrot, broccoli, bok choy, cabbage or taro leaves)
- ½ cup canned vegetables (eg, beetroot, tomato, sweet corn)
- 1 cup green leafy or raw salad vegetables
- ½ medium kūmara, taewa (Māori potato), yam (Pacific or NZ), taro, cassava, or green banana
- 1 medium tomato.
Results of the 2016/17 Health Survey, showed about 6 in 10 adults (62%) were eating at least three servings of vegetables each day. In 2020 the Ministry of Health revised the Eating and Activity Guidelines and now recommend adults eat 5 servings of vegetables a day. The 2021/22 Health Survey showed just over 10% of adults meet this new recommendation.
There a lot of work to do to encourage people to enjoy more vegetables - but even just one more serve a day is a great step in the right direction.
Vegetable intake by young people
|Food and Nutrition
Guidelines for healthy
children and young people
| Health Survey
|Health Survey 2016/17|
|Boys 2-14 years old||Eating 3 or more vegetables per day||52.3%||51.2%|
|Boys 2-14 years old||Eating 2 or more fruit per day||73.4%||70.6%|
|Girls 2-14 years old||Eating 3 or more vegetables per day||48.7%||51.6%|
|Girls 2-14 years old||Eating 2 or more fruit per day||73.9%||74.4%|
|Young people 5-24 years old||Eating 3 or more vegetables per day||40%|
|Young people 5-24 years old||Eating 2 or more fruit per day||69%|
|Males 15-18 years old||Eating 3 or more vegetables per day||51%|
|Males 15-18 years old||Eating 2 or more fruit per day||61%|
|Females 15-18 years old||Eating 3 or more vegetables per day||62%|
|Females 15-18 years old
||Eating 2 or more fruit per day||65%|
After adjusting for age, Pacific and Asian men and women were less likely to eat the recommended 3 servings a day of vegetables compared to men and women in the total population.
Statistics from New Zealand Ministry of Health nutrition surveys over the past 20 years
|Per day||LINZ Study
NZ People 1999
|Portrait of Health
|NZ Health Survey
|NZ Health Survey 2016/17|
|Males||Eating 3 or more vegetables||57%||62%||56%||59.3%||58.8%||57.4%|
|Males||Eating 2 or more fruit||27%||34%||50%||54.6%||49.0%||47.7%|
|Females||Eating 3 or more vegetables||58%||73%||69%||72.2%||66%||65.8%|
|Females||Eating 2 or more fruit||38%||56%||68%||65.8%||62.3%||59.7%|
Note: These are based on the standard serving sizes.