Your Daily Recommended Servings of Fruits and Vegetables
Eating fruits and veggies is one of the most highlighted suggestions when it comes to optimizing health. But what exactly is the daily recommended servings of fruits and vegetables? bistroMD is investigating through the produce aisle and offering guidelines and tips!
Consuming fruits and veggies is one of the most highlighted suggestions when it comes to optimizing health. The bold colors of produce are not only appealing to the eye, but contributes mostly to their high nutrient content. So what exactly is the daily recommended servings of fruits and vegetables? bistroMD is investigating through the produce aisle and offering guidelines and tips!
How Many Servings of Fruit and Vegetables Per Day?
The United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA's) Dietary Guidelines recommend that adults consume at least five servings of fruits and vegetables each day, with the higher end suggesting 13 servings. Further broken down, daily recommendations suggest servings of two fruits and three vegetables. These numbers are dependent on age, gender, physical activity and overall health. For instance, if trying to cut out calories, consuming 13 servings on top of whole grains, lean proteins and healthy fat sources would not be the most ideal route to take. Additionally, active adults with an increased appetite and metabolism may benefit from 10 to 13 servings.
But it is important to not solely look into the quantity of fruits and vegetables but the quality as well. For example, some canned fruits are loaded with syrups while canned veggies may be high in sodium for preservation purposes. As a general guideline, resort to fresh produce or rinse off canned goods. Additionally, be cautious of frozen items that may be soaking in sauces. In these instances, take advantage of the ingredient label and choose products that contain solely the desired fruit or veggie.
According to the Centers of Disease and Control (CDC), just 13 percent of the U.S. population is consuming one and a half to two cups of fruits each day while less than nine percent is eating two to three cups of vegetables. These findings suggest some of the lowest numbers of all time and push the need for an increase in fruits and vegetables. So how can we collectively increase the statistical numbers and reap the benefits of these high-nutrient food sources?
Though it is admirable to have immense goals, do not bite off more than you can chew. Individuals who are already not fond of most fruits and veggies are unlikely to jump right into the recommended range. Start small by slowly introducing fruits and veggies in the diet. Start with produce you already do like and increase their intake. Additionally, begin to experiment with various foods and different methods of preparation and cooking. Make it a family approach, especially including children. Getting them exposed at a young age can instill healthful practices for years to come and embed a lifelong habit.
Eat Whole Products
Consuming produce in their whole form is the total package - offering essential nutrients and the benefits of fiber. Whether store-bought or homemade, try to reduce or skip out on juices. Some juice products are essentially nothing but sugar, either natural or added. Juicing fruits and veggies may seem nutritious, but the process can strip out vital nutrients and fiber. If you are to drink your fruits and veggies, prepare a healthful smoothie with these tips in mind.
Know the Cost
Most people commonly perceive eating healthy as "more expensive." This assumption is far from accurate, as fruits and veggies can still fit into a modest budget! Look for fruits and veggies on sale in weekly ads or scope out in-store specials. Additionally, it is certainly okay to purchase canned veggies! But as mentioned above, be sure to rinse them off before preparing and serving to limit salt.
From the lists below, try mixing and matching the following fruits and veggies!
Pick Three Veggies: asparagus, corn, spinach, kale, broccoli, brussels sprouts, squash, endive, peppers, mushrooms, lettuce, artichokes, cucumber, sweet potatoes, leeks, peas, radishes, zucchini, cabbage, celery
Pick Two Fruits: apples, berries, oranges, bananas, pears, avocados, cherries, dates, figs, grapes, pineapples, grapefruits, plums, tangerines, watermelons and melons, kiwis, pomegranates, lemons and limes, mangoes, tomatoes, cantaloupe