Fruits and vegetables contain vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber that help us maintain overall good health. The number of vegetables recommended depends on a person’s age and gender, but tends to range from 5-9 servings per day. If you are anything like us, getting the recommended amount each day is much easier said than done, but not impossible! Keep reading for a few pointers.
What is a Serving?
According to the USDA’s MyPlate, men should eat 2 cups of fruit per day and women should eat 1½ to 2 cups. In general, the following amounts count as a cup:
- 1 Fruit Cup (no syrup)
- 1 cup of 100% Fruit Juice
- ½ cup of Dried Fruit
MyPlate specifies that men should eat 2½ to 3 cups of vegetables and women need 2 to 2½ cups. The following count as 1 cup of veggies:
- 1 cup of Raw or Cooked Vegetables
- 1 cup of Vegetable Juice
- 2 cups of Leafy Greens
10 Tips to Eat More Fruits and Vegetables:
01 Start your day with fruit! Make it a goal to have a serving of fruit with your oatmeal or yogurt. Berries, bananas, or apples are all good choices.
02 Have a large supply of frozen vegetables and fruits in the freezer to use as side dishes, main dishes, smoothies, and stir-fry.
03 Make an easy sheet pan meal by choosing lean meat or fish and arranging it on a baking sheet with 2 cups of vegetables per person. Bake for 20 minutes at 400 ℉. Here are a few recipes to get you started!
04 Have a healthy snack! Grapes, apples, bananas, and oranges are some of our favorites. Try using raw veggies like celery or carrots to dip in hummus or another healthy dip.
05 Make one-pot meals that are filled with vegetables. The Crockpot is a favorite gadget of ours for simple, veggie-packed meals. Here are some of our favorite recipes!
06 Swap the grains for greens! We typically consume an abundance of bread, pasta, and rice. Instead, try swapping bread and pasta for a lettuce wrap, zucchini noodles, or cauliflower rice!
07 Double up on the serving size. Unlike other food groups, it’s okay to double the serving size of your fruits and vegetables. They are low in calories but high in fiber so they will contribute to longer feelings of fullness.
08 Try a new fruit or vegetable each week. Our bodies like variety so don’t be afraid to mix it up. An easy way to pick is to know what is in season. Check out this seasonal food guide to help you find what produce to buy!
09 Keep fruits and vegetables in sight. Put a bowl of fruit on the kitchen table or a vegetable tray in the front of the fridge. If you see it, you will eat it!
10 Order vegetables when out to eat. Try starting your meal with a side salad or double-up on the broccoli instead of getting a side of rice or mac and cheese.