Eat A Rainbow : 5-a-Day Fruits and Vegetables

Eating at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetable a day is considered part of a healthy diet. We all know that besides providing vitamins, minerals, and fiber, most vegetable and fruits are low calorie, and more importantly, disease preventing. But I felt overwhelmed with all the confusing and contradictory information available, and wanted something simple and practical to follow at home everyday. Here’s what I found, and I hope the information below helps.

The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) – a US federal agency under the Department of Health and Human Services – website offers some excellent and clear guidelines for healthy diet and lifestyle.

Based on a 2000 calorie diet, 1 serving is any one of the  following:

  • 1 cup raw vegetables / salad greens
  • 1/2 cup berries / sliced fruit
  • 1/2 cup cooked vegetables
  • 4-6 oz juice
  • 1/2 cup spaghetti sauce / salsa
  • medium (tennis ball size) fruit
  • 1/4 cup dry fruit

Use the Fruit & Vegetable Calculator  to figure out how many servings your body needs per day based on gender, age, and level of physical activity.

Handy picture chart of what makes 1 cup of fruit / vegetable.

EXAMPLES OF 1 CUP

Small apple Large banana 1 medium grapefruit
1 small apple 1 large banana 1 medium grapefruit
1 large orange 1 medium pear watermelon wedge
1 large orange 1 medium pear 1 small wedge watermelon
2 large plums 8 strawberries 1 large bell pepper
2 large or 3 medium plums 8 large strawberries 1 large bell pepper
1 medium potato 2 large stalks of celery 1 cup cooked greens or 2 cups raw (spinach, collards, mustard greens, turnip greens)
1 medium potato 2 large stalks of celery 1 cup cooked greens or 2 cups raw (spinach, collards, mustard greens, turnip greens)
12 baby carrots 1 large sweet potato 1 large ear of corn
12 baby carrots
(or 2 medium carrots)
1 large sweet potato 1 large ear of corn

EXAMPLES OF 1/2 CUP

Applesauce 16 grapes 1 medium cantaloupe wedge
1 snack container of applesauce (4oz) 16 grapes 1 medium cantaloupe wedge
1/2 medium grapefruit 4 large strawberries 5 broccoli florets
1/2 medium grapefruit 4 large strawberries 5 broccoli florets
6 baby carrots Large plum 1 small box (1/4 cup) of raisins
6 baby carrots 1 large plum 1 small box (1/4 cup) of raisins

 

Healthy Kids Ideas Exchange had a fantastic, easy to read chart that grouped fruits & veggies by color. I have added portion sizes to each for an easy guide chart. (I am no expert in this area and am learning as I go; if you see anything

I also printed several copies of this chart and taped it to my kitchen board. It’s an easy and  good visual reminder to eat better (and of how much my diet is lacking!!). My 8-year old helps track and color what we eat each day, and I think it’s good to make kids aware of healthy eating habits.

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