In 1991, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the Produce for Better Health Foundation launched a campaign to increase consumption of fruits and vegetables to 5 to 9 servings a day for every American. Adding 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables to your daily diet can be a bit overwhelming at first. Five servings are considered the minimum. For men, the recommendation is nine servings per day; for women, it is seven. Of course, the more fruits and veggies you eat, the better.
A serving size is defined as the amount of fruit or vegetable that can fit in the palm of your hand. The following portions are examples of single serving sizes:
A small (3/4 cup or 6 oz) glass of 100% fruit or vegetable juice
A medium-size piece of fruit (an orange, small banana, medium-size apple)
One cup of raw salad greens
1/2 cup of cooked vegetables
1/2 cup of cut-up fruit or vegetables
1/4 cup of dried fruit
1/2 cup of cooked beans or peas
So you’re probably asking…how do I accomplish this on a busy schedule?
Here are some tips that may help you easily incorporate our colorful friends into your life.
Remember your goal is to “eat the rainbow.” Some tips to get more fruits and veggies into your diet:
- Snack on fresh fruit throughout the day. Grab an apple or banana on your way out the door. I have a cup of mixed fresh fruit with breakfast, an apple with lunch and a banana in the afternoon.
- Try to eat a big salad at lunch, and always order lettuce and tomato on your sandwich. I often make a grilled veggie sandwich on whole wheat flat bread. I stir fry mushrooms, green and red peppers and onions – delicious. When I’m out, I go for a veggie on whole wheat or honey oat. Use mustard often, it has turmeric in it. I also make a huge salad with romaine, spinach, kale, cranberries, walnuts, avocado, beans and goat cheese. Instead of salad dressing, I drizzle organic olive oil and balsamic vinegar (reduction). The olive oil insures I will absorb the nutrients from the veggies and the balsamic adds flavor as well as alkalinity.
- Snack on raw veggies instead of chips or candy. I also snack on raw nuts and dried fruit. Make sure the dried fruit you are buying is not preserved with sulfur and is not processed with sugar.
- Keep trail mix made with dried fruit on hand for a quick snack.
- Eat at least two vegetables with dinner. I try to eat sweet potatoes whenever possible with dinner. They are a super food.
- Choose fruit or whole grain baked goods. I make my own banana bread, cranberry bread, and muffins.
- Eat a lot of raw tomatoes. For men, tomatoes help to reduce the risk of prostate cancer, and for women, tomatoes have lycopene in them and function much like Tamoxifen in blocking estrogen metabolism.
- Buy a juicer. I love my juicer. I use the pulp extracted to make soups, muffins and breads. I bought a Green Star juicer model 2000. My favorite juice recipe is carrots, kale, celery, cucumber and beet. I also make fruit smoothies in my Vitamix using the veggie juice from my juicer and frozen organic fruit. This makes a scrumptious snack or breakfast on the go.