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With Fruits and Veggies, More Matters

Forget '5 a Day' -- eating more is better. Here are 18 ways to get more produce power into your diet.
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Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

So you've been trying to eat right, working to fit in your "5 a day" servings of fruit and vegetables. Well, the government has some news for you: Forget five a day. More is better.

The CDC and the Produce for Better Health Foundation have launched a national campaign with the message, "Fruits & Veggies -- More Matters."

The new slogan replaces the old "5 a Day" campaign, which dates back to the early '90s. The reason? Under the U.S. government's latest food guidelines, five servings of fruits and vegetables may not be enough. Adults need anywhere from 7-13 cups of produce daily to get all the health benefits of fruits and vegetables -- including possible protection against obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer.

Making It Work

But for many of us, it's been a challenge to fit even five servings of fruits and veggies into our daily diets. How can we hope to eat as many as 13 cups? It's really not so difficult, says Elizabeth Ward, MS, RD, author of The Pocket Idiot's Guide to the New Food Pyramids. She offers these tips to help you get there:

  • For peak flavor and good value, buy fresh produce in season. But keep in mind that "flash-frozen" or canned without salt or heavy syrup can be just as good as locally grown produce," Ward says.
  • Always keep a stash of frozen vegetables on hand, to toss into soups, salads, stews, and egg dishes or to microwave for an easy side dish.
  • Splurge on pre-washed, pre-cut fruits and veggies. "They are more expensive, but if you consider the waste when washing and cleaning produce, it makes them roughly equal, and the convenience may help encourage everyone in the family to eat more," says Ward.
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