Did you know that September is National Fruits & Veggies Month? Nearly 9 in 10 Americans are not eating enough so there’s no better time than National Fruits & Veggies Month to start incorporating more produce into your daily routine. Adding one more serving of fruits or vegetables to your day does not have to be hard. Start using these easy tips to eat more fruits and vegetables!
Benefits of Fruits and Vegetables
Why Eat Fruits and Vegetables?
Fruits and vegetables are naturally fat-free, cholesterol-free, and sodium-free. They are also a good source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Fruits and vegetables contain essential nutrients that many people are lacking such as potassium, fiber, vitamin C, vitamin A, and folate (1). Fruits and vegetables are good for your skin, eyes, heart, brain, gut, and immune system.
Other Benefits of Eating Fruits and Veggies
Everyone knows how healthy fruits and veggies are for us, but they also make us feel good. There’s growing evidence globally that eating fruits and veggies is predictive of increased happiness, life satisfaction and well-being.
The Produce for Better Health Foundation’s (PBH) research indicates that those Americans who eat fruits and vegetables most days per week say that they experience physical, emotional, and social benefits now and into the future! (2)
Fruit and Vegetable Intake
Fruit and vegetable intake is declining, down nearly 10% since 2004 and by 3% since 2015 (2). The amount of fruits and vegetables a person needs depends on their age, sex, and level of physical activity. Children need 1 – 2 servings of fruit per day and 1 – 3 servings of vegetables. Aside from fresh, consider canned, frozen, and dried varieties to increase your intake.
What Counts as a Serving?
A serving of fruit is 1 cup of fruit, 1/2 cup of dried fruit or 1 cup of 100% fruit juice. That could look like 1 large banana, 22 grapes, 7 mango chunks or 1 large orange. A serving of vegetables is 1 cup of cooked or raw vegetables, 2 cups of leafy greens or 1 cup of vegetable juice. That could look like 1 large bell pepper, 1 large sweet potato, 2 celery stalks or 1 cup of beans or lentils.
10 Easy Ways to Eat More Fruits & Vegetables
Most people do not meet fruit and vegetable recommendations. Use the following tips to add more fruits and vegetables to your day!
- Add fruit to your morning oatmeal or cereal. Try frozen berries, raisins, banana, or a sliced peach. Read my breakfast blog for more ideas.
- Add fresh or frozen vegetables to your morning eggs. Beyond peppers and onions, try tomatoes, mushrooms, or kale.
- Have a salad! Make an entrée salad for lunch or serve a side salad at dinner.
- Make a tasting bar or charcuterie board. Serve fruits and vegetables with various dips and spreads.
- Incorporate more plant-based meals and snacks into your lifestyle. Many plant-based meals focus on beans, peas, and lentils which are vegetables with unique benefits.
- Serve fruits or vegetables as a snack. Have pre-cut vegetables or fruits or fruit cups within reach in the fridge.
- Mix up fresh, frozen, dried, canned and 100% juice throughout your day.
- Drink your fruits and vegetables! Try 100% fruit juice or make a smoothie.
- Make a vegetable soup or stew. The perfect way to combine fresh and frozen vegetables in a single dish.
- Explore different cooking methods. Change the texture and flavor of your produce by grilling, roasting, steaming, or air-frying.
You Can Eat More Fruits and Vegetables!
Eat more fruits and vegetables, in all forms, to improve your overall health and wellbeing. Do you eat a fruit or vegetable at every meal or snack? There are many ways to eat more fruits and vegetables throughout your day. Everyone is different, therefore, find what fruit and vegetable habits work best for you and your family! How will you eat one more fruit or vegetable this week?