I’ve seen the recommendations for number of daily servings of fruits and vegetables change every few years for most of my life.
It’s not surprising given that modern fruits and vegetables aren’t carrying the same nutrition packed punch of the same plant grown just 50 years ago.
So how many servings of fruits and vegetables do we actually need and what does a serving mean? The answer was a pain in the ass to find- for me- a health coach. No wonder it’s confusing for the rest of the public.
The USDA no longer recommends certain servings. The USDA MyPlate recommends covering half your plate with fruits and veggies at each meal. In theory this is a great recommendation. However, the ambiguities of plate size and what kinds of fruits and vegetables to put on it aren’t covered on the website.
Through a bit of googling, I’ve found what most consider a “serving”.
1 serving is equal to one of the following:
1 medium fruit or vegetable
1/2 cup of chopped fruit
1/4 cup of dried fruit
1/2 cup/4 oz of fruit or vegetable juice (fresh pressed is best)
1 cup of leafy greens
1/2 cup of cooked or raw vegetables
Based on this article on the CDC website, adults should be getting a minimum of about 1.5-2 cups of fruit and 2-3 cups of vegetables each day.
That’s 7-10 servings per day and if you’re engaging in physical activity regularly you’ll want to be closer to 10 servings, plus possibly some extra. Younger kiddos need more in the 4-5 range, moving up to similar to adult levels in elementary aged kids and then peaking in active teenage boys at 12-13.
These handy charts found here give us more exact numbers of what we need based on age, gender and activity. Keep in mind, these are in cups, so you’ll multiply by 2 to bring the numbers to traditional serving size.
So do I need to be measuring all my meals? No, just eyeball and be sure you’re getting a VARIETY. This means some fruit, some vegetables including green leafy, sweet, starchy, bitter, etc, etc, etc, grab a fresh pressed juice now and then, enjoy dried fruit as a snack in moderation and slurp down a big ol’ smoothie packed with all of the above. Eat ’em raw, eat ’em cooked, blended, juiced, dried, and whole.
Instead of worrying about your protein or carbs for the day (we typically get our numbers met easily), make fruits and vegetables the priority and you’ll fit them it easily.
Looking to easily add more fruits and vegetables into your daily meals? Join the S.O.S Challenge where you’ll add one smoothie or one (not boring) salad each day for 5 days!
Grocery List and Recipes drop Friday September 15th. Join Whole and Healthy Mamas where I’ll be live streaming videos with recipe tips, tools and other hints. Your challenge? Make one smoothie or one salad from the list and post in the group daily. I’ll make it even more fun, with prizes for participation!
Be sure to join subscribe here so you’ll have the grocery list and recipes as soon as they drop!
Not a mom or mom friendly women and still want to participate? Subscribe to Brittany’s Badass Broadcast and you’ll be the first to know about the public challenge later this month.