FAQs About the 5-A-Day Challenge


Questions about the TAC 5-A-Day Challenge

General Questions

Are there teams?

There is no team registration and there are no team prizes in the 5-A-Day Challenge.

How do I register?
Registering is easy, visit our registration page. Anyone who turns in an eligible 5-A-Day weekly scorecard is entered in the three-week drawing for prizes. You may enter any or all of the weeks during the three-week challenge.

Are there prizes?
Yes, there are prizes for eligible participants. Drawings will be held for prizes at the end of the three-week campaign.  

How long is the Challenge?
The 5-A-Day Challenge lasts three weeks. Of course, the real challenge is to make eating five or more servings of fruits and vegetables every day a lifelong habit.  

Do I have to participate every week to win a prize?
No. Every eligible scorecard that you submit becomes another entry in the prize drawing. So the more weeks you keep score the better chance you have of winning a prize. But, you don't have to be in every week.

Do weekly scores get added together for a grand total or averaged across the weeks?
No, scores are tallied on a weekly basis and not added together or averaged. Each week you have to score at least 25 points to be eligible for the prize drawing (that's equal to eating 3-4 servings of fruits and vegetables a day.)  

Where do I get a 5 A Day Challenge scorecard?
Print a scorecard from the Resources page or pick them up near the 5-A-Day poster at your worksite.  

How do I enter my completed scorecard in the prize drawing?
Return your scorecards to your wellness coordinator at the end of each week and they will be forwarded to TAC for the drawing at the end of the three weeks.

What is a serving?
A serving size is:

  • Fruit: fresh, cooked, or canned
    (1 medium piece or ½ cup chopped)
  • Vegetable: raw or cooked,
    fresh, canned or frozen (1/2 cup)
  • Leafy vegetables: raw lettuce,
    spinach, etc. (1 cup)
  • Juice: 100 percent fruit or vegetable (3/4 cup)
  • Dry beans or peas: cooked kidney
    beans, white beans, chick peas, lentils,
    split peas, etc. (1/2 cup)
  • Dried fruit: raisins, prunes, dried apricots, etc. (1/4 cup)

What's a fruit?
A fruit consists of the fleshy pulp that surrounds the seed of a plant. Technically speaking, that makes zucchinis and tomatoes both fruits. (Actually tomatoes and watermelons belong to the same classification of fruit—they are both true berries!)

For the purpose of this challenge, fruit refers to the sweeter members of that botanical grouping. This includes tree fruits such as apples, peaches, cherries and oranges; fruits that grow on vines like cantaloupes and watermelons; plus those that grow on bushes (blueberries) and low, creeping plants (strawberries).       

What's a vegetable?
A lot of foods that we call vegetables are technically really fruits (as explained in "What's a fruit?"). Examples are zucchini, tomato and winter squash such as butternut. We usually prepare these as "savories" rather than "sweets."  

Some of the vegetables we eat are flower buds (broccoli, artichoke), and some are a plant's seed pod, complete with seed (green beans). In our 5-A-Day Challenge, dried beans also count as a vegetable (see sidebar).

We classify some roots (carrots, radishes) and other things that grow below the ground's surface (potatoes) as vegetables, too.

Are potatoes a vegetable?  
Yep, potatoes are a vegetable… but, potato chips and french fries do not count as vegetable servings when scoring the 5-A-Day Challenge.

Can nuts be scored as a vegetable?
When you check the Food Guide Pyramid, you find that nuts are on the protein-rich level, not with the fruits and vegetables. And while the 5-A-Day Challenge accepts dried beans into the veggie crowd, the line between nuts and vegetables is a lot sharper.  

A lot of nutritionists are touting the health benefits of nuts, and say they can be part of a healthy diet. (For more info visit the American Dietetic Association.) Still, the focus of the 5-A-Day Challenge is to become more familiar with the fruit and vegetable groups of the pyramid.  

So, definitely include nuts as a flavorful garnish on your stir-fry, spinach or fruit salad, but leave them out when you score servings.  

What about processed beans, like tofu?
Although the why and how of soybeans is still not settled, there is little doubt that this staple food of so many cultures can contribute to a healthy diet. (For information about soy, visit the American Dietetic Association.)  

Tofu does not count as a vegetable when scoring for 5-A-Day Challenge. It is in the protein category of the food pyramid. Tofu is made from soy milk and unlike fruits, vegetables and whole dried beans, it is low in fiber. This is an important distinction between tofu and fruits and vegetables since dietary fiber is one of the most celebrated nutritional benefits gained from eating fruits and vegetables.  

Visit the US Soyfoods Directory website for general information about tofu and nutrition info.  

What about mashed beans, like hummus?
In the 1970s a lot of people were introduced to hummus as a middle eastern "health food." It is made from mashed chick peas, often mixed with garlic, tahini (sesame paste) and olive oil. Two favorite ways of eating hummus are as a spread on bread or as a dip for raw veggies.  

Hummus does not count as a vegetable when scoring for 5-A-Day. However, like nuts, hummus is a delicious way to add variety to your healthy diet.  

Is cabbage a "leafy vegetable" or a "regular vegetable"?
We classify cabbage as a regular vegetable. It's in the cruciferous vegetable family that includes brussels sprouts, broccoli, bok choy, cauliflower, collards, mustard, turnip greens, kale, kohlrabi, rutabaga and turnip root.  


Additional resources  



Information courtesy of Tompkins County Health Department. (n.d). 5 A Day Challenge, Retrieved July 23, 2009, from www.tompkins-co.org/wellness/worksite



 Don't See Your Question Here?

Write us and ask!
Or visit the fruits and vegetables Q&A posted by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). ​

 What's a vegetable?

Even though the USDA's Food Guide Pyramid doesn't include dried beans in the vegetable category, the USDA says that they can also be classified as a vegetable. In our 5-A-Day Challenge, dried beans also count as a vegetable. The National Cancer Institute also counts dried beans as a vegetable in their 5- A Day Challenge.​​