Published on February 01, 2014

Fruits and Veggies

Man Eating Salad

According to the 2010 Food and Nutrition Guidelines established by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), we should eat 3-5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Why? Fruits and vegetables are low in fat and calories, and contain many important vitamins and minerals that our bodies need to remain healthy. Diets rich in fruits and vegetables may reduce the risk of cancer and other chronic diseases. They also contain fiber. Fiber aids in digestive system health and helps control cholesterol which reduces the risk of heart disease.  According to The Institute of Medicine, we should eat between 25-35g fiber each day. Check out some of our fiber favorites listed below.

Since eating fruits and vegetables helps “fills you up”, you may eat fewer unhealthy foods that contribute to weight gain and poor health. Juices are another source of vitamins and minerals, but juices do not contain much fiber or nutrients found in the skins/peels of fresh versions.

So how can you increase your intake of fruits and vegetables? One way is to have one fruit and one vegetable at each meal. Or, choose fruits and vegetables for between meal snacks or desserts. Here are some creative ways to sneak fruits and vegetables into your diet:

  • Add pieces of apple or grapes to your salad at dinner (strawberries work well too)
  • Add shredded carrots to tuna/chicken salads
  • Use tomato sauce on chicken and fish dishes
  • Put bananas or berries in cereal
  • Eat an apple at work for a mid-morning snack
  • Have raw veggies with low-fat salad dressing for an afternoon snack
  • Have cheese on apple slices instead of crackers
  • Add vegetables to grain and pasta
  • Make stews loaded with veggies
  • Use a blender to make a fruit smoothie with yogurt and frozen fruits
  • Make salads with all kinds of veggies – not just lettuce and tomato 

Fiber Favorites

Serving Size Total Fiber (grams)  
Green peas 1 cup 8.8
Raspberries 1 cup 8.0
Pear, with skin 1 medium 5.5
Broccoli, boiled 1 cup 5.1
Apple, with skin 1 medium 4.4
Brussel sprouts, cooked 1 cup 4.1
Sweet corn 1 cup 4.0
Banana  1 medium 3.1
Orange  1 medium 3.1
Strawberries 1 cup 3.0
Potato, with skin, baked 1 small 3.0
Carrot, raw 1 medium 1.7
Figs (dried) 2 medium 1.6
Raisins 1 ounce 1.0

 
Sources: