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Nutrition Articles  ›  Quick and Easy

Easy Ways to Eat 5 Fruits & Veggies Each Day

Tricks for Healthy Treats

-- By Laura Bofinger, Staff Writer
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  • 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

  • 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
  • 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
  • PUGGLEMONKEY
    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
  • LPYLES68
    I forgot about spinach in my smoothies. You don't even know its there! - 12/28/2012 10:43:31 AM
  • MAMAEAGERBEAVER
    I love to add some spinach to my smoothie in the morning to help get some added goodness. My kids don't even notice that I do it because the taste is masked by the other fruits in the smoothie. You can also add some mashed cooked cauliflower to your mashed potatoes. Finally, I also take Juice Plus. - 5/11/2012 2:27:47 PM
  • JWOOLMAN
    One more thought- if you only have canned fruit available but don't like it much, try dividing it into 4ounce freezer containers and freezing for a while. I keep the juice with it if it's just fruit juice. Really tasty. Experiment with how long to freeze, depending on how you like it, but it can be allowed to thaw a bit if it gets too frozen. - 4/2/2012 6:22:49 PM
  • JWOOLMAN
    One other idea: I add a package of a soy protein powder (Shaklee vanilla in my case) to 6ounces of fruit/veg juice and fill up to total 16ounces with frozen fruit. If I were more ambitious I could use just water and frozen fruit instead of commercial juice. After blending, I pour into 4oz freezer cups and freeze for later. Really good. Might need a bigger total volume to get four servings, usually I get 3.5 servings. But 16ounces just fits in my personal blender cup. - 4/2/2012 6:10:13 PM
  • JWOOLMAN
    I eat in installments and so feel no need to balance a meal... I really love tomato sandwiches with nothing but egg-free mayonnaise and some salt and as much tomato as I can fit on whole grain bread or in a pita. But I can't eat tomato too often due to allergies, so the best substitute I've found is either thick slices of seedless cucumber or loads of red or orange bell pepper. I only add salt for tomato or cucumber for some reason, I never add it to other foods. Avocado also makes a good sandwich in a pita or corn taco shell, sometimes with other veggies, although often I eat avocado all by itself. No need for mayonnaise with avocado, of course. Same is true when I add an avocado to a salad, I just mash up the avocado as the only dressing. - 4/2/2012 6:00:48 PM
  • JWOOLMAN
    I like to use spinach leaves or cabbage leaves instead of lettuce in sandwiches. Also shredded carrots are great in sandwiches.

    Try shredded carrots plus chopped onion plus peanut butter as a sandwich filling sometime. Either just add separately or mush around in a bowl until the carrots and onion have a thin coating of peanut butter. I've used as much as a cup of carrots with 2tbsp peanut butter this way. Sunflower seed butter or almond butter works as well. I imagine other nut or seed or legume butters would also work. I like this in whole wheat pita or on rice crackers or good Lundberg rice cakes or in corn taco shells.

    Shredded carrots basically taste great with everything... I also add to no-tuna salad made with mashed garbanzo beans (chickpeas) instead of tuna. I'm too disorganized to shred carrots myself, but the bagged shredded carrots actually taste much better than the bagged carrot chips or baby carrots for some reason. I cut them into smaller pieces sometimes with a kitchen shears, that's as far as I'll go with special food prep... - 4/2/2012 5:48:44 PM