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Serving-Size Guidelines

The CDC recommends eating five to nine servings per day of fruits and vegetables. A serving is:

  • A medium-sized piece of fruit
  • Three-quarters of a cup of 100% fruit or vegetable juice
  • Half a cup of cooked or canned vegetables or fruit
  • A cup of raw, leafy vegetables
  • Half a cup of cooked dry peas or beans
  • A quarter cup of dried fruit

Fresh, frozen, canned, and dried produce count. So does 100% fruit or vegetable juice, says the CDC. Sorry, but deep-fried items (like french fries) and fatty or sugary sauces probably aren't the best staples in terms of health.

Remember to wash fresh fruits and vegetables thoroughly in water, says the CDC.

Serving Ideas

The goal of eating more produce may sound good. But how do you make it work in real life? Here are some suggestions from the CDC.

  • Slice a banana or strawberries on top of your breakfast cereal.
  • Have a salad at lunch.
  • Snack on an apple.
  • Add a vegetable to your dinner plate.
  • Try fruits and vegetables that you've never had before.
  • Blend low-fat yogurt, fruit juice, and fruit (fresh, canned, or frozen) to make a smoothie.
  • When eating out, look for dishes that include fruits or vegetables.
  • Mix colors of fruits and vegetables. How about blueberries and red grapes, or carrots and peppers?
  • Keep fruits and veggies visible and within easy reach. Put a big bowl of fruit on the table, or keep cut, cleaned produce at eye level in the refrigerator. Out of sight, out of mind.
  • Retrain your brain. Start thinking of fruits and vegetables as the original fast food.

Got picky kids? The CDC offers these suggestions:

  • Make frozen fruit kebobs with pineapple chunks, bananas, grapes, and berries.
  • Shop with your kids and let them pick out a new fruit or vegetable to try.
  • Make "trees" of broccoli chunks, "flowers" of carrots and cauliflower, and a "sun" of yellow squash.
  • Top a bowl of cereal with a smiley face of banana eyes, a raisin nose, and a mouth made from an orange slice.
  • Make ice cubes or popsicles of 100% fruit juice.
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