How Many Servings of Fruits and Vegetables Do You Need Daily?

a variety of different types of fruits and vegetables

You may want to lose weight or just want to eat healthier in general, but how do you know if you are getting the nutrients you need daily? A good diet begins with fruits and vegetables. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends eating 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables every day.

Why are fruits and vegetables healthy?

Recommendations have changed over the years, but one thing remains constant – fruit and vegetables prevent disease and prolong life. They are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Those who eat diets high in fruits and vegetables tend to have less fat on their bodies, which reduces the risk of heart disease and diabetes.

What is fiber?

There are two main types of fiber:
  1. Soluble fiber: easily metabolized by the gut and dissolves in water
  2. Insoluble fiber: does not dissolve in water
Americans generally do not eat enough fiber, but it is good to aim for at least 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men each day.

Antioxidants

Fruits and vegetables contain natural antioxidants. Benefits of antioxidants include:
  • Cell damage prevention
  • Reduced risk of heart disease and some cancers
  • Immune system support

What is a good serving size of fruits and vegetables?

This is a common question, but the answer is complicated. Fruit servings are 80 grams, which is usually about the size of a tennis ball. This is approximately 1 whole medium sized fruit such as a small banana, pear or apple. The equivalent could be 1/4 cup of dried fruit or fruit juice.
 
Vegetables can be measured differently depending on what it is and if it’s raw or cooked. A serving of raw leafy veggies is 1 cup, while 1/2 a cup of other vegetables is considered a serving.
 
Measuring your fruits and veggies daily can be challenging when you are out and about living your life. Try using the MyPlate nutrition guide. According to MyPlate, you should eat more vegetables than fruits, and both combined should be half of your plate.

Common serving sizes for fruits and veggies:

  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup of grapes
  • 1 pear
  • 1 apple
  • ½ cup applesauce
  • 1 orange
  • 1 cup of berries
  • 10 broccoli florets
  • 12 baby carrots
  • ½ cup corn
  • 1 cup raw leafy greens
  • ½ cup cooked leafy greens

Tips To Get Your Daily Fill of Fruits and Veggies

Eat fruits and vegetables whenever you possibly can! They are delicious and refreshing. Here are some good tips that will make you want to reach for the fruits and veggies when you are craving a snack.
  1. Prep your fruits and veggies by cutting them up ahead of time. This makes it easy to grab or to quickly add into smoothies, pastas and salads.
  2. Keep hummus or other seasonings and dips handy to be able to make your healthy snack more exciting!
  3. Eat more salads! It is a great way to get multiple servings of veggies into one meal.
  4. Try having fruit for dessert. It can reduce the amount of calories and sugar you eat while still satisfying your sweet tooth. You can even put some light whipped cream on top!
Eating more fruits and vegetables is a great way to help prevent disease and obesity, yet most Americans do not get enough. If you want to live a healthier lifestyle, eating more fruits and veggies is a simple way to get started!
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