Did you know there are two food groups that can help you maintain a healthy weight, fight cancer, protect your heart, and help reduce the appearance of wrinkles? Unfortunately, most people only eat about half the recommended servings per day of these “magical” foods. I am taking about fruits and vegetables, nature’s powerful disease fighters.
If you are like most people, you are looking to help increase your fruit and vegetable intake, but may not be sure how without hours in the kitchen or breaking the bank. The recommended amount is 2 servings of fruit per day and 5 servings of vegetables daily. That amount can sometimes seem quite overwhelming, especially if you are not sure what a serving is and if you are getting enough.
A serving of fruit is about 150g of fruit, which equals:
- 1 medium whole fruit: apple, banana, orange, peach, pear (about the size of a tennis ball)
- 2 small whole fruits: kiwis, plums, apricots
- 1 cup diced or canned fruit without any additional sugar.
- 30g of dried fruits
A serving of vegetables is about 75g of vegetables, which equals:
- ½ cup of cooked green or orange vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, or carrots.
- ½ cup cooked or canned beans or other legumes
- 1 cup raw vegetables
- ½ of a medium size starchy vegetable, such as a potato or cassava
- 1 whole tomato
Not sure how to get in all those servings? Here are some helpful tips for those of us who want to eat healthier by adding more fruits and vegetables to their diets.
- Eat fruit as your primary go-to snack. An apple, pear, banana, or other whole piece of fruit is easy, portable, and takes no time to prepare.
- Choose fruits and vegetables in-season. These fruits and veggies will taste better, cost less, and possibly contain more nutrients than those that are not in season. If you are not sure which fruits or vegetables are currently in season, you can check out this Seasonal Food Guide.
- Sneak fruits and veggies into your breakfast. Sometimes we tend to rely on traditional breakfast foods such as cereals or breads for breakfast. But, breakfast is a great time to add in some additional fruit and vegetables. Top your cereal with colourful berries or make an omelette with a variety of your favourite vegetables. It is easy to get in a serving or two before your day even begins!
- Sneak veggies into your favourite meals. Love pizza or sandwiches? These are great places to add a few servings of vegetables. Don’t just add meat or cheese to the pizza, get creative and top the pizza with peppers, tomatoes, artichokes, olives, or any vegetable of your choice. Add spinach, tomatoes, onions, peppers, avocados, or any other favourite veggies to a sandwich. Vegetables will make your favourite foods more nutritious and more filling.
- Learn to love soup. Vegetable soup is a great way to add a ton of vegetables to your diet and is easy to prepare. You can even freeze some of the leftovers for later. Try some of my favourite recipes here and here.
Be sure to check back regularly for even more delicious recipes with tons of fruits and vegetables.