Nutrition Articles

How to Eat 5 Fruits & Veggies Each Day

Tricks for Healthy Treats

"Eat your fruits and vegetables." We've heard it all of our lives. If only it were so simple.

Our bodies crave fruits and vegetables more than just about any other food because we tend to get far fewer of them than we need. We often think we'd survive just fine on 2-3 servings a day – or less. But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the USDA both recommend at least 5 servings per day! What you’re missing could be the difference between just surviving and all out thriving.

With just a little thought and a tiny bit of effort in snack preparation, you can make these nutritious foods more convenient and accessible.

Tips and Tricks
  • Add fruit to your cereal, oatmeal, waffles or pancakes at breakfast.
  • Create your own yogurt flavors with plain yogurt and different combinations of fresh fruit.
  • Snack on raw vegetables or fruits instead of chips or pretzels. Keep sugar snap peas, raisins or carrot sticks in your car, your office or your backpack.
  • Use chunky salsa instead of thick, creamy snack dips.
  • Drink 100% juice instead of addictive coffee, tea, or soda.
  • Going out to lunch? Take a trip to the grocery salad bar. Use lots of dark green leaves and other vegetables instead of piling on all of the extras like eggs, bacon and cheese.
  • Add frozen veggies to any pasta dish. It's an easy way to get in another serving of the good stuff.
  • Keep fruits and vegetables in line of sight. Grapes, oranges, bananas, and apples make a colorful bowl arrangement on the table. If you see them, you will eat them.
  • Dried fruit is just as portable as potato chips -- and less messy. It tastes especially good when added to basic trail mix.
  • When cooking vegetables, makes 2-3 times more than you need and immdiately store the extra away for tomorrow. It'll save you time later on.
  • Add your own beans and vegetables (tomatoes, spinach, peppers, cabbage) to canned and quick-serve soups.
  • If you must have pizza, load on extra veggies and pineapple instead of fatty meats and extra cheese.
  • Try berries, melons or dates for a naturally sweet dessert rather than the usual candy bar, cookie, or ice cream sandwich.
  • Frozen fruit and veggies are nearly as healthy as the fresh stuff, and only take minutes to prepare.
  • Combine fruit with your main meal courses. Raisins, apples and tangerine slices add sweet, crunchy variety to a salad. Apples complement pork, pineapple is great with fish, and orange slices are perfect with chicken.
Besides being packed full of nutrients, fruits and vegetables can also be quite filling. They may even ward off any empty calorie snacking that might follow! Don’t be discouraged by the recommended 5 servings a day. The guide below shows that one serving is less than what you might think.

One serving equals:
1 medium piece of fruit
1/2 cup fruit (raw, canned, or frozen)
1/2 cup cooked vegetables (canned or frozen)
1 cup raw vegetables
1/4 cup dried fruit
4-6 oz. of 100% juice (serving size depends on the type of juice)
1/2 cup cooked peas or beans

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Member Comments

  • love this time of year for vegetables
  • I mix my vegetables together, just to see what kind of combinations I can come up with. Remember, potatoes are vegetables, french fries are not.
  • I like to add a fruit cup to my cottage cheese.
  • Old info, as is all too common on this site. Veggies taste great on their own, they do not require disguising. I eat lots of veggies but limit my fruit to a bit of green apple or summer fruit in season.
  • LOVE Fruits and veggies - plain. This is one "diet" area where I excel. Alas you can overeat on fruit(especially) very easily and still be hungry. A real vegetarian diet takes a lot of work it's not just losing the meat it's making sure you have protein substitutes and those require skill.
  • My calories and macros are ok but I never bothered to count my fruit & veggie servings. Turns out my 2 servings of fruit and 4 servings of veggies a day are ok. For veggies I make it simple for my wife (or me, whoever cooks that night ha ha). Good mixed veggies are hard to find in our city... so I make my own. Once a week I cook up a batch of mixed veggies: equal portions of peas, corn, chopped green beans, and diced carrots, with half a portion of canned mushrooms. Bag it and freeze it. Then we reheat 1 cup for my lunch and 1 cup for dinner (1 cup cooked veggies=2servings
  • THIS IS WAY too much for me, i can't do this as i am not a planner, i am not disciplined in the least bit. I have my coffee in the morning with milk whole, and sugar 2 teaspoons and don't have any other coffee. I eat sporadically and my body shows up with lots of stress and inflammation. But it seems I cannot do this discipline of multi veges and fruits continually as the above examples and below examples. But I am aiming to use my juicer. Hey that's something. Val
  • I eat five servings of produce before noon, never a problem for me, I love it!
  • I am diabetic, so I count carbs to keep my blood sugar down, keeping my A1C down too. I never touch caffeine, except tea, decaf.
    Almonds are the best source of low salt protein I can find.
  • Fruit juice instead of coffee? I think not. Fruit juice is a concentrated source of sugar and lacks fiber. Eat fruit instead. Also, coffee is not bad for you.

    Frozen vegs are *almost* as healthy as fresh?? Nope, they are often more so.

    One of the best ways to get more veggies is to add them to smoothies ... Kale, spinach, even beans and beets, can be added to a good protein powder mix and nut milk for a fantastic punch of antioxidents and vitamins.

    This article appears to be about 3 years old. Time to update this info.
  • I guess juice is a good choice compared to nothing - but too much concentrated sugars and calories - tea is a better pick ,, and frozen veggies and fruit can be more nutritious than out of season ones - and cheaper and won't go soft and overripe.
  • Most of what is in this article is great information but...we should never consider fruit juice of any kind a proper substitute for fruit. There is no fiber in juice and it is just liquid sugar, high calorie and can cause spikes in blood sugar.
  • Glad I love my freggies!
  • Since I have truly committed to eating five fruits and veggies a day, I can honestly say that I feel better because of it. This alone has reinforced the idea that we are what we eat, annnnnnnd a food's caloric value is only a little piece in the healthy living puzzle. It has also helped learning what a true fruit/veggie portion size is...thanks to another Spark article. Yes, I have now become that girl who eats the lettuce, tomato, and onion on my sandwiches as every little bit helps!
  • I doubt the comments are read on articles, but I will leave this anyway. The author needs to research frozen veggies again. Frozen veggies are flash frozen at their peak ripeness and nutrition which can make them healthier than fresh since you can't always buy fresh at that absolute peak ripe stage. I think there is even a sparkpeople article on this very topic.

About The Author

Laura Bofinger Laura Bofinger
As a freelance writer, Laura uncovers some kind of inspiration every day when she writes about health and fitness.

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