According to the CDC, only 1 out of 10 adults eats the recommended serving of fruits and vegetables per day. The USDA’s recommendations for how many fruits and vegetables to eat per day varies depending on age, sex and activity level. It is recommended that adults eat 2-3 cups of vegetables/day and 1.5-2 cups of fruit/day.
These recommendations don’t have to be hard to meet. For example cut up a banana and add it into yogurt for breakfast, and have an apple with your sandwich for lunch and you will already meet you daily fruit quota. To meet your daily vegetable needs, having an omelet made with ½ cup of cooked spinach and ½ of a tomato for breakfast, and a leafy green salad made with 2 cups of lettuce as the base for lunch will provide you with your daily vegetable servings.
Add variety and space out your fruits and vegetables throughout the day. I always recommend including a variety of colors of fruits and vegetables on your plate.
Using the MyPlate method as a guide to plan your meals will help you to include fruits and vegetables at every meal. For the MyPlate method, make half of your plate fruits and vegetables, ¼ of your plate protein, and ¼ of your plate carbohydrates. Keeping frozen fruits and vegetables on hand will also make it easier to include them in your day since then you always will have them on hand.
Other ways to add fruits and vegetables to your day:
Smoothies can be made with both fruits and vegetables.
Substitute jelly for apples, bananas or berries in your peanut butter sandwich.
Top pizza with broccoli, spinach, eggplant or mushrooms.
Add berries into the batter or your waffles and pancakes.
Make an egg omelette stuffed with vegetables.
Create your own trail mix using nuts and dried fruit.
Have vegetables and hummus, salsa or guacamole as a snack.
Apples or bananas with nut butter as a snack.
Dress up your morning yogurt or oatmeal with a variety of fruits.
Add vegetables such as cucumbers, lettuce and tomatoes on sandwiches.
As you can see, meeting adding fruits and vegetables to your diet is easy, and a little meal planning can go a long way!
Linzy Ziegelbaum, MS, RD, CDN is a registered dietitian and owner of the private practice LNZnutrition LLC. She provides nutrition counseling and education to clients of all ages with many nutrition needs. Linzy enjoys sharing her love and nutrition expertise with others through counseling, her LNZnutrition blog and social media pages, including Facebook and Instagram.
Main Photo Credit & Second Photo Credit: Oleksandra Naumenko/shutterstock.com