How to Eat 5 Fruits & Veggies Each Day

"Eat your fruits and vegetables." We've heard it all 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 five 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 percent 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 two or three times more than you need and immediately store the extra away for tomorrow to save time later.
  • 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 five 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

I have been mixing spinach in my eggs who would have thought Report
Great information Report
I never had a problem getting my veggie intake. I absolutely love my veggies. Report
Great tips. Report
Soup is my favourite way of getting a variety of veggies. Report
I just drink V8 juice, low sodium. Get it all that way and no muss, no fuss Report
thank you Report
Great article, thanks. Report
I love my fresh fruits and vegetables. Report
thank you Report
Now I can answer intelligently about what gluten is. Report
Thanks Report
For my 5 a day - 2 Fruit & 3+ Veggies, at breakfast I eat oatmeal w/ unsweetened applesauce mixed in or most mornings a veggie omelette w/ shredded zucchini & carrots, sliced shrooms & sliced onions. Sometimes it's a smoothie w/ protein powder, berries (straw, blue, rasp, black or combo)& spinach or nut butter & banana w/ coconut milk.
This article doesn't mention that vegetable soup is a great way to get more produce in.
During most of the year I make big pots of veggie soup using a chicken stock* base & adding "the kitchen sink" like cauliflower, celery, parsnip, onions, carrots, zucchini, patty pan/ yellow squash, green, pinto, navy, kidney beans, turnips, rutabagas, red, whitr or sweet potatoes, canned tomatoes, garlic, spinach, kale, lentils, split peas, corn in any combo or all. *For richer soups w/out calories from cream or butter use cashew or coconut milk instead.
To thicken puree it in a blender (do all or part in batches) or use a stick blender or even a potato masher. Add your favorite herbs & spices like pepper & salt substitute if desired.
I eat a bowl so get 2-3 servings for lunch, then 1or 2 at dinner with side dishes.
Snacks are often fruit: Green apple slices w/ PB; dried pineapple or papaya; & I have a Dessert Bullett that turns frozen bananas & other frozen fruit into faux "ice cream" (Another brand machine is YoNanas.) Sometimes it's a mixed fruit cup of diced peaches, pears, melons, grapes, berries, apples, banana.
A real easy tropical fruit salad in winter is drained cans of pineapple chunks & mandarin oranges in a bowl w/ sliced banana (optional) sprinkled w/ cinnamon & tossed w/ shredded coconut & a few chopped walnuts. You could also add a dollop of RediWhip.
I own a juicer & make my own vegetable juices including fresh carrot w/ celery & beets. Otherwise Odwalla & Bolthouse have some on the market that are quite good if you don't have a juice bar near you. Just know that the nutrients start to deteriorate with 15 minutes of most produce being cut open. V8 is fine too especially if traveling o... Report
just made a big batch of tabouli with lots of cucumber and tomato Report
When cooking vegetables, makes 2-3 times more than you need and immdiately store the extra away for tomorrow.

Immediately is missing the first "e". Report


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.