The USDA recommends eating 5-9 servings of fruit and veggies a day. A serving of fruit is 1 cup and ½ cup for dried fruit. A serving size of veggies is ½ cup or 1 cup leafy green salad. Fruits and vegetables contain many different vitamins and minerals good for your health, including vitamin A (beta-carotene), C, E, magnesium, zinc, phosphorus and folic acid. By eating five servings of fruits and vegetables a day lowers your risk of cancer, heart disease, stroke, diabetes and other diseases.
I am feeding my family fresh vegetables and fruits each day. I remember when I was little my mom would give us wheat bread instead of white. McDonald’s was a rare dinner, maybe once a month, and soda was a treat. We didn’t add sugar to our Cheerios or Grape Nuts. Growing up my mom had complications with lupus and was sick a lot, in the hospital so she had to eat right to feel better. There was a time when we didn’t eat salt because it made her “puffy.” Now I learn you do need some salt in your diet. After my mom passed away, when I was 10 years old, we didn’t always eat healthy. Now that I am a mom I make sure we eat healthy. I do buy chips and pretzels but I have fruit and veggies available for snacks as well.
What happens if you don’t eat fruits and vegetables?
Froot Loops are not a fruit! Many people don’t get any servings of fruits or vegetables a day. With all the processed foods on the market these days it’s easier to open a bag of potato chips and call it a vegetable. Not eating enough fruit can cause nutrient deficiencies. A lack of vitamin C can lead to irritability, weakness and fatigue. Lack of folate can lead to anemia.
Fruits contain natural sugars, a mix of sucrose, fructose, and glucose. Many people hear sugar is bad for you but fructose in fruit is only harmful in excess amounts, not from fruit. Fresh fruits and vegetables are a better choice than frozen or canned, processing removes all the nutrients. Frozen is the second best choice.
Why doesn’t the majority of Americans eat fruits and vegetables daily?
People are busy with sports, meetings, after school activities they don’t take the time to cook meals at home so they go to the drive-thru window. Fruits and vegetables aren’t easily available at fast food restaurants. They are easy to prepare – rinse, peel, cut, enjoy.
When I get home from grocery shopping I make a salad. I use half the veggies in the salad and the rest are cut up and put into baggies for snacks throughout the week. I rinse the carrots and put them in a container to snack on or take for lunch. I cut up celery as well. This way we have the veggies ready to grab for lunches or snacks. My kids take a packed lunch to school and will cut up an apple, or bag some grapes. When I buy a melon I cut it up and put it in the fridge. I cut strawberries so they can have those with breakfast, lunch or snack as well. It’s best to rinse and cut it all when I get home from the store so it doesn’t sit in the fridge and go bad.
Here is a list of the healthiest fruits and vegetables:
The 15 healthiest fruits:
* citrus – oranges, lemons, grapefruit
*red and purple grapes
* berries – blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, cranberries
The 10 healthiest vegetables:
*beet greens, beets
*microgreens – baby radishes, baby cabbage, baby kale
*red bell pepper
The Best Tips to get your daily servings of fruits and veggies:
- add a handful of fresh spinach to your eggs
- add spinach and strawberries to your smoothies
- eat a handful of grapes with breakfast
- snack on celery sticks with peanut butter before bed
- have a salad for lunch
- steam broccoli and cauliflower for dinner.
The last thing you need to know about eating more fruits and veggies
Fresh fruits and vegetables are readily available at grocery stores. So easy to prepare, just rinse, cut and enjoy.
Download the Eat More Fruits & Veggies in 31 Days printable to hang on your fridge so you remember to eat them everyday.
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