Fruits and Veggies: How much should YOU eat a day?

In the past, it has been recommended that people need at least five servings of fruits and vegetables a day for good health.  Recently, the Centers for Disease and Control Prevention say every human body is different.  CDC now says that the amount of fruits and vegetables your body actually needs is based on the amount of daily calories your body needs, which is determined by your age, sex, and physical activity level.

CDC is currently launching a “fruits and veggies – more matters” campaign to increase health awareness.  CDC says that fruits and veggies are a great substitute for other high-calorie foods, which can be an effective weight-loss strategy.  Fruits and veggies are also loaded with nutrients that can protect against disease such as diabetes, stroke, some cancers, and cardiovascular diseases.   The site offers nutrient charts, and a “fruits and veggies of the month” chart that suggests new and different nutrient-packed foods to try. 

According to my daily calorie intake, I need to eat 2 cups of fruit and 3.5 cups of vegetables a day.  Before I read any of this information, I thought this to be no easy task.  I have been going at it for two weeks now, and I find myself constantly running to the grocery store to stalk up, but I have definitely learned a lot from the experience so far.  For anyone who is up to the challenge, I would definitely recommend going to this site to figure out your bodies’ necessary daily fruit and veggie intake.

 What I first noticed about my little experiment is that you don’t even realize the amount of carbohydrates you eat daily.  I learned that trying to fit in my daily servings forced me to substitute carbs for healthier choices.  For example, every breakfast I would eat a bowl of granola thinking I was being so healthy (granola is healthy don’t get me wrong), but there are up to 30 grams of carbs in each serving of granola, minus milk.  I learned to substitute cereal for yogurt and fruit in the morning, take a piece of fruit on the go for a snack, eat a salad for lunch, pack in another fruit/veggie snack, then add half a plates worth of veggies to my meal at dinner.  It may sound easy, but honestly it is a change that you have to get used to.  You have see what works, and at least in the beginning, constantly remind yourself to plan to eat fruits and veggies throughout the day.

Another thing I learned is that it can get boring very fast unless you add some variety.  So mix it up! Add lots of colors…try new fruits and vegetable that you never have before.  You may have to make yourself excited for peas or broccoli so look up healthy recipes too.

One last tip I would like to throw out is to maybe try going organic.  Organic fruits and veggies are loaded with more nutrients and are not grown with pesticides or fertilizers.  Research shows that organically grown fruits and veggies have greater health benefits than conventionally grown foods.  Some alternative cancer therapies even involve the patients to eat organic.

So with all of that said, I hope this post has encouraged you all to go out and eat more fruits and vegetables, or at least has encouraged you to do a little research of your own.  For those of you that do try it out, let me know what you think!

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About tonicekada

I am a junior print journalism major at West Virginia University. I have two minors in Italian and fitness.
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