Since most of us aren’t getting enough of these nutrient rich powerhouses, we need to aim for more. They can help us lower our calorie intake and reduce our risk of heart disease, stroke and protect us from certain cancers when eaten as part of an overall healthy diet. It is important to find fruits and vegetables we enjoy and eat a variety, because each fruit and vegetable has a unique nutritional profile.
Not sure how much you should be getting for your calorie level? It is recommended most people get 1.5-2 cups of fruit a day and about 2-3 cups of vegetables a day.
What counts as a cup of fruit? 1 cup raw, frozen or canned fruit or ½ cup dried fruit or 1 cup of juice
What counts as a cup of vegetables? 2 cups of raw green leafy, 1 cup fresh, cooked or canned, 1 cup of vegetable juice
The Challenge: Increase your fruit or vegetable intake this week
Tips to Consider:
1. Try one new vegetable you haven’t eaten in a while and prepare it another way. For example, if you normally steam asparagus, try lightly grilling it, Roasting is another great way to add flavor to your veggies.
2. Aim for 1 fruit or 1 vegetable at every meal and snack.
3. Get creative and add vegetables or fruits in a way you might normally not. For example, add steamed broccoli to your mac and cheese or tuna casserole, add cooked peas and carrots to your rice or quinoa, add extra vegetables to your soup, add fresh or dried fruit to your yogurt or cereal.
For more information on how many fruits and vegetable serving are recommended for you, go to myplate.gov/myplate-plan, click on start and get your personalized food plan based on your age, sex, weight, height and physical activity.
Looking for new fruit and vegetable recipes? Visit fruitsandveggies.org for recipes and tips to get in more fruits and vegetables
Our thanks to Franciscan Dietician Kristal Twardy, RDN, CD, for writing this Challenge.