How can I eat enough fruits and vegetables every day?

Jill A. Grimes, MD
Family Medicine
Learn to recognize that each meal should contain color -- at least half the plate filled with vegetables and fruit. You should aim to eat 5 to 10 servings (what you can comfortably hold in your cupped hand) of vegetables and/or fruit per day. Don't freak out that there is no way to eat that many servings per day. Even young kids can easily follow this rule.
At breakfast, add in a banana or a handful of berries. Have your morning or afternoon snack include a serving of fruits or vegetables (think an apple, carrots, raisins, etc.).

At lunch or dinner, include a generously portioned salad. If you have two handfuls of lettuce, plus one more handful of either tomato, shredded carrots, avocado slices, peppers, or your favorite vegetable, you've already got 5 servings. If you layer up the salad or simply add some vegetables to another meal (think yams, green beans, applesauce) then you are up to 10 before you know it.

The current Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend eating 2 cups of fruit and 2 1/2 cups of vegetables a day (based on a daily diet of 2,000 calories). To make sure you eat enough fruit and vegetables, try these easy steps:
  • Blend frozen fruit with low-fat milk, low-fat yogurt or tofu for a breakfast smoothie.
  • Roast vegetables in olive oil for a side dish.
  • Keep dried fruit on hand as a snack.
  • Stock your freezer with frozen vegetables to add to casseroles, stir fry, pasta sauces and soups.
  • Put fruit in plain sight in your kitchen. The easier it is to see, the more you will reach for it.
  • Top sandwiches and pizzas with sliced vegetables.
Whether you use frozen, canned or fresh fruits and vegetables, you'll reap the benefits.
Doreen Rodo
Nutrition & Dietetics
The first thing that you should do to increase your fruits and vegetable intake is to be prepared. Look at your weekly shopping ad and plan to buy whatever fruit and vegetables are on sale. If it is a fruit that must be prepared, like strawberries, do that ahead of time so you are more likely to eat them. Be sure to rinse all fruits and vegetables before consuming them.

To improve your intake, take some for a snack during the day, add some to your breakfast cereal, or make a fruit dessert such as a cobbler. Smoothies with fruit and yogurt are an excellent way to increase your intake. Leave a bowl of washed fruit on the table as a reminder to eat some. Have a salad or fresh vegetables every day at supper. In general,(unless you are on a diet restriction) you should strive to have 5-9 fruits and vegetables per day.

Continue Learning about Health Value Of Foods

Another Reason to Add Walnuts to Your Diet
Another Reason to Add Walnuts to Your Diet
We advocate eating 14 walnut halves a day because they offer the good-for-you lipid omega-3 ALA, magnesium, manganese, potassium, copper, vitamin B6, ...
Read More
Is eating the peel of fruits and vegetables is a healthy habit?
Many of the nutrients we credit fruits and vegetables with, are indeed in the peel. The peels can al...
More Answers
5 Top Foods for Your Heart, Plus 1 to Avoid
5 Top Foods for Your Heart, Plus 1 to Avoid5 Top Foods for Your Heart, Plus 1 to Avoid5 Top Foods for Your Heart, Plus 1 to Avoid5 Top Foods for Your Heart, Plus 1 to Avoid
What's best to eat for your ticker? A heart doctor weighs in.
Start Slideshow
Eat These Healthy, Rich Foods and Reduce Stroke Risk
Eat These Healthy, Rich Foods and Reduce Stroke Risk

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.