How many servings of fruit and vegetables do I need each day?

Person holding a handful of fresh blueberries

We all know that fruits and vegetables are good for you.  They’re a crucial part of a healthy diet and provide nutrients we need to maintain function and overall health.

But most of us struggle to work them into our diet.  One study from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says only 1 in 10 adults get enough fruits or vegetables.  That’s rough.

So how much should we take in each day? 

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends that adults eat at least 1.5 to 2 cups of fruit and 2 to 3 cups of vegetables per day.  A cup of fruit or vegetables is equal to about 80 grams, or the amount that fits in the palm of your hand.

Some health organizations recommend eating even more fruits and vegetables.  For example, the American Heart Association recommends 4 to 5 servings of each per day.

Assuming we could afford to add a couple more servings per day, what are some easy ways to get more fruits and vegetables into our diets?

If you’re struggling to get enough fruits and vegetables, try making small changes and adding them into your current routine. Here are some tips:

  • Start your day with a bowl of fruit or a smoothie. 
  • Add fruit to a cup of oatmeal or yogurt. 
  • Snack on fruits and vegetables throughout the day.
  • If you’re an athlete, swap out your pre-workout shake or bar for something like a banana and peanut butter.
  • Add vegetables to your main meals. For example, try adding spinach to your omelet, broccoli to your stir-fry, or greens onto your sandwich.

Note: Fresh, frozen, canned or freeze-dried fruits and veggies all count toward your daily intake!

Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables is one of the best things you can do for your health. Try to add them in when you can– small changes can make a big difference over time!

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