Nutrition Articles

How to Eat 5 Fruits & Veggies Each Day

Tricks for Healthy Treats


  • 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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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.

Member Comments

  • 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! - 9/17/2015 6:40:07 AM
  • 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. - 7/21/2015 9:18:55 AM
  • I plan ahead for my week at work: bring 5 pieces of 5 or 6 different fruits with me on Monday, and eat one of each every day throughout the week.

    This week, I packed 5 each of:
    Lemons (I slice one in the morning and put it in my water glass for the day)

    I also have a bag of baby carrots to dole out a serving or two of veggies. I usually eat another serving or two of veggies with dinner when I get home. I find it's easier to eat 1 piece of fruit every hour or so than it is to cram in 5 at a time. You can change up what you bring, so if you need more veggies, swap out (or add in) a couple of veggies. I usually try to bring veggies for lunch. If I cook veggies, I do a big batch on the weekend and pack them out in individual servings.

    Disclaimer: I am not a vegetarian. I usually stack up proteins with lunch and supper. - 9/22/2014 2:48:18 PM
    Can't say that my body "craves fruits and vegetables", really. Sometimes I crave strawberries, but the vegetables, I have to force myself to eat them, and I detest Kale and celery and cucumbers most of all, photos of them make me sick to my stomach. - 8/24/2014 2:23:09 PM
    No! Fruit juices and dried fruits are very high in calories. - 8/5/2014 1:53:15 PM
  • Great article...thank you! I have a NutriBlast by Magic Bullet that I use daily to drink part of my veggies and fruits, and for on the go quickie fruits and veggies when I can't carry fresh ones, I eat Gerber Organic Fruits & veggie pouches (3.5 oz). These are so good and come in so many flavors. Yeah, its baby food, but what purer way to get packaged food. I learned this tip from Men's Health. - 5/1/2014 1:47:45 PM
  • This is a great article. It is true that caffeine is an addictive substance found in coffee, tea, and soda, so juice is a good alternative for many people. I think it is inappropriate for someone to imply that drinking juice is dangerous. For diabetics, there are better choices. But for people just beginning their journey, juice is a great option, since it does contain vitamins, and therefore is more nutritious than coffee, tea, or soda. - 1/15/2014 12:55:57 AM
  • GILLIAN520
    Juice is not a good option to choose when you're trying yo lose weight or if a person has diabetes or is on the fence on the way to diabetes. While it may have more nutritional value than coffee and soda pop it is a full on sugar hit which research is showing is a lot more dangerous than eating good fats. I also disagree with your statement about teas being addictive. There are lots of teas that can be very good, healthy and tastey. Juice also lack the fiber of a whole fruit which means both a sugar and insulin spike. Eat fruit, don't drink it!
    Gillian (ret . Diabetes Nurse Educator) - 10/22/2013 11:25:51 AM
  • I am so fortunate at work. Our company is trying to help us be healthier, in spite of ourselves. We have a fresh fruit program going in our lunchroom. The company has fresh fruit brought in every week for us (FOR FREE) to enjoy, rather than looking to the other side of the lunchroom - to the candy and snack machines. The machines also have been stocked with healthier choices along side the dreaded candy and chips.

    We frequently have fitness and nutrition challenges to help us along. Makes it fun, while improving our health.

    My thanks to them! - 7/19/2013 1:55:07 PM
  • Homemade smoothies and juices are definitely helping me up my fruit intake! My current favorite is strawberry-waterm
    elon juice - I've got a little single-serving mini blender, so I just stuff as much fruit as I can into that thing and blend away! I add a little protein powder, Greek yogurt, or silken tofu if I want something that tastes a bit richer, but the juice itself is very crisp and refreshing with a meal. - 6/29/2013 8:13:43 PM
  • I use spinach for lettuce too. Never tried cabbage. - 5/18/2013 10:19:50 AM
  • The pizza comment kind of got to me too. I really don't think pizza is a bad choice, compared to many of the other foods you can get at restaurants; in fact, its pretty balanced and it has its own portion control (take one or two slices, put the rest away). - 4/19/2013 4:49:21 PM
  • "If you must have pizza..." - really? I thought part of spark was teaching that no foods are off limits that we just practice moderation. Might be that I'm 7 months pregnant and irritable but the sentence rubbed me the wrong way!! - 4/19/2013 1:36:42 PM
  • KLUTZY68
    I limit my snacks to fruit or veg, so that helps a lot; I would add protein if I felt real hungry, but I usually get plenty at meals. Just nothing starchy. In the winter there are quite a few good fruits that come mostly from Chile. The honeydews and small grapes are really tasty. And of course bananas, citrus from CA and FL, pineapples from HI, and the large papayas from I don't know where. I also like the 4 oz. fruit cups, especially pineapple. All of this violates my attempts to eat locally grown foods, but not much choice in the winter. We do pick wild blueberries and freeze them for winter use. Since I'm avoiding things like muffins and pies, I put them on cereal. They'd work great for smoothies, too. - 4/19/2013 7:09:33 AM
    Those of us on lower calorie diets should beware of fruit juices, as they can be high in calories. It is very easy to drink way too many calories at one time. With some of the info coming out on no cal sweeteners and their effects on appetite, I usually try to avoid them. - 4/10/2013 10:37:10 AM

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