How to Eat 5 Servings of Fruits & Veggies a Day
We have all heard for years that eating 5 servings of fruits and vegetables every day is a great way to achieve optimal health. But sometimes it’s easier said than done. “Research indicates that more than half of adult consumers know they need to eat five or more servings of fruits and vegetables per day, but more than nine in ten Americans do not eat the recommended amount. Eating more fruits and vegetables as part of a healthy diet can reduce the risk of cancer, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke – and can further impact risk by helping with weight control,” says Dr. Richard Kahn, the American Diabetes Association’s chief scientific and medical officer.” 1
Here are some tips for eating 5 servings of fruits and vegetables!
Have a salad
I know, so obvious. But the truth is that salads are a great way to get multiple servings of fruits and vegetables in one sitting. They are so versatile and can be changed for each day or even each meal! Try mixing a spicier green such as arugula with a sweet option like cherry tomatoes or pears. The combination of sweet and spicy is a great way to keep the taste buds interested. Another great way to build a salad is to grab any vegetables available in your fridge, chop them up and throw them together. Some ideas are lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, celery, bell peppers and carrots.
Maybe eating raw vegetables isn’t your thing. Or maybe you have a picky eater to please. Either way, mixing extra vegetables into your recipes is a great way to boost nutrient intake. Try adding frozen spinach to spaghetti sauce, or mixing riced cauliflower into rice, pasta or quinoa. Not only will it add some texture, it’s a relatively easy way to boost vitamin and mineral intake without a huge change in flavor.
Trade in a snack
Do you usually have some chips or an energy bar for your snack? Try exchanging one or more of your daily snacks with some vegetables. Carrots and cucumbers make a deliciously crunchy, low calorie and low carbohydrate snack and pack well when on the go! If you need a little extra flavor, try a small amount of oil-based dressing or hummus.
Here are some common serving sizes to help you achieve those 5-a-day goals! A good rule is that 1 cup of raw vegetables or ½ cup of cooked vegetables is equal to one serving. Remember that fruits and starchy vegetables contain carbohydrates and must be taken into account for your daily intake. As a rule, one small piece of raw fruit or ½ cup of canned fruit is equal to one serving with 15g of carbohydrates.
1 serving is equal to:
- 1 cup of raw carrots
- 1 cup of raw spinach
- 1 cup of cucumber
- 1 cup of raw bell peppers
- ½ cup cooked broccoli
- ½ cup cooked cauliflower
- ½ cup cooked green beans
- 1 small apple
- ½ cup applesauce
- ½ cup canned fruit
- 1 small pear
- 1 small banana
- 1 cup of grapes
- 2 tablespoons of dried fruit such as raisins
Here’s to a healthy start of a new habit!
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