How Much Fruits and Vegetables Should I Eat Each Day
The new food guidelines issued by the United States government recommend that all Americans eat between five and thirteen servings of fruits and vegetables every day. When you first hear that number, it may seem like a lot, but it is actually much easier than you think to fit that many servings of fruits and vegetables into your daily diet. For a person who needs 2,000 calories a day to maintain weight and health, this translates into nine servings or 4½ cups per day.
For one thing, the shelves of grocery stores, local markets, and farm stands are fairly bursting with fresh fruits and vegetables. One usually does not need to travel far to purchase fresh local fruits and vegetables and there are even some online vendors who deal in fresh produce.. In addition, vegetables and fruits are some of the least expensive, most nutrient-rich, foods in general. With all these fruits and vegetables to choose from, it is very easy to make these nutritious, delicious foods part of your daily meals and snacks.
When you take into account how much a serving really is, it is actually quite easy to get five to thirteen servings of fruits and vegetables per day. For instance, the recommended daily intake for the average 2,000 calories per day people, equates to a quite reasonable two cups of fruit and two and a half cups of vegetables every day. When you consider how many fruits and vegetables are available, and how low the prices usually are, it is easy to see how easy to reach this daily goal really is.
One great way to get the nutrients you need from fruits and vegetables every day is to start your day with a fruit or fruit and vegetable smoothie. Including other healthy foods in your smoothie such as greek yogurt, almond milk, coconut water, and wheat germ blend well with frozen fruits and vegetables to make a wonderful drink that both hydrates your body and gives you a load of excellent nutrients.
When shopping for fruits and vegetables, it is important to choose a variety of different colors. This is for more than purely aesthetic purposes. Different color fruits and vegetables have different types of nutrients, and choosing a variety of colors will help ensure you get all the vitamins and minerals you need each and every day. Take full advantage of the variety of fruits and vegetables that are available to you. Eating the same thing every day quickly becomes boring, so why not pick a variety of fruits and vegetables, in every color of the rainbow and in every conceivable shape, size, and texture, to give yourself a varied diet every day.
Finding new recipes is another great way to ensure you get those five to thirteen servings of fruits and vegetables every day. Everyone likes to try out new recipes, and these new recipes may just provide the impetus you need to eat all those fruits and veggies.
New recipes can also provide you the important opportunity to try out some fruits and vegetables you have never tried before. For instance, everyone has eaten oranges, but have you tried kiwi fruit or mangoes? How about spinach or kale? Trying new things is a great way to find new favorites while getting the best nutrition available.
Many people mistakenly think that they do not need to eat nine to thirteen servings of fruits and vegetables every day if they just take a vitamin supplement. Actually, nothing could be further from the truth. That is because fruits and vegetables contain far more than the primary nutrients identified by science and synthesized in vitamin pills. While these nutrients, such as vitamin C, vitamin A, and vitamin E are important to good health, so too are the hundreds of other elements and micronutrients that are contained in healthy foods like fruits and vegetables. These elements are not available in any pill, they must be ingested through a healthy, balanced diet that contains plenty of fruits and vegetables.
In addition, fruits and vegetables are much less costly than vitamin pills. Fruits and vegetables are very inexpensive, especially when purchased in season and grown locally. In the long run, getting the nutrition you need from the food you eat is much less expensive, and much better for you, than popping those vitamin pills every day.
You should, however, try to avoid eating overly processed fruits and vegetables. Anything that is fried, bottled, or canned is going to have fewer nutrients than fresh produce and additional fats and preservatives aren't going to be a healthy add-on. If you can avoid cooking or freezing fresh produce you will get the most of it nutritionally. However, the food must be enjoyed, but take caution that overly cooking or processing fresh produce will cause that food to be less beneficial to your health. When cooking or baking your foods leave vegetables al dente (firm but cooked enough to lose that raw taste), and use healthy cooking oils like olive oil or coconut oil, and avoiding salt or at least the overuse of it.
So don’t forget to get your five to thirteen servings of fruits and vegetables every day. It may seem like a lot, but you can meet this quite reasonable goal simply by including fruits and vegetables as snacks, garnishes, side dishes, or incorporate them into meals that would traditionally use pasta or rice.