Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Brought to You by the Number Nine

Eating plenty of vegetables and fruit is the solid foundation on which to build a healthy lifestyle.  How much is "plenty?"  Strive for Five is a motto I've seen stamped on bags of apples, and that's a good place to start when many Americans consider the mayo-coated lettuce on their fast food burger and the side of fries their veggies for the day.  According to the CDC, just 26% of Americans eat vegetables 3 or more times a day.

But the latest recommendations for veggie and fruit intake for a healthy body and disease prevention is NINE.  That's right nine servings of fruit and veggies a day.  What's a serving?  Nine servings of fruits and veggies translates to about 3 cups of veggies (note that one cup green leafy veggies equals a half cup "serving") and about 2 cups of fruit.

I aim for nine servings on a daily basis with a 2:1 ratio of vegetables to fruit, six servings of veggies and three of fruit.  It may seem like a lot, but when I have a bowl of berries with my breakfast, a banana for a snack and apple in my morning juice, fruit done.  My morning juice, a chopped veggie salad with some chicken and cheese for lunch and at least one-third of my dinner plate with deliciously prepared veggies and that's done.

I don't count white potatoes as a vegetable serving, that's a starch like noodles or pasta, nor do I count sweet corn as a veggies, either.  Corn is a grain, like rice.

Eating lots of colorful produce not only nourishes our bodies with micro nutrients that fight disease, fuels our bodies and promotes good health, they provide water and fiber for good pooping!  There, I said it.  Don't want to be constipated, up your veggies and fruit and you'll poop like a rock star.  And that fiber has yet another benefit, high-fiber vegetables are filling and take longer to chew, which means you'll eat more slowly and be satisfied longer.

Watch this space for more posts featuring food porn and recipes with produce in a starring role.

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Share your tips on how you pack produce into your day!


  1. I loved this post and thank you for the information!
    I will be watching for sugestions as to where to put those extra veggies in taht I don't get some days.

  2. Heavens! I don't think I get anywhere near 9. I'm lucky for 5! It's easier on the nights we have a big chopped salad with dinner (or one for lunch), but I will admit to being too lazy to wash, peel and chop every night. I refuse to buy the bagged stuff though. It always tastes odd to me and is so expensive compared to buying the ingredients separately.

  3. Great advice. I was actually just wondering yesterday if corn was considered a starch like potato or a veggie. Guess I got my answer - its a grain.

  4. Long-time follower/admirer of your blog, first-time poster. I've been striving to eat 7-9 F&V servings each day for about eighteen months now, and I have several tips that have worked well for me. I commit to three per meal, which isn't so intimidating. Breakfast options include juice (100% juice with no sugar added), tomatos/cucumbers (great with skim mozzarella, feta, or fat-free cream cheese), raw spinach in an omelet or in/on a bfast sandwich, other veggies in eggs, fruit on cereal/oatmeal/yogurt, a mixture of F&V in a smoothie, etc. Lunch/dinner ideas include fresh salsa or pico de gallo on top of grilled fish/chicken, pureed carrots/zucchini mixed into marinara sauce, dried fruits (without added sugar) mixed into salads and/or brown rice, roasted peppers pureed into hummus, adding raw spinach and/or thinly-sliced apples to sandwiches, etc. Hope this helps and keep up the great work! Angie

  5. Thanks for your comments and great ideas!

    I love Angie's idea of fresh salsa on grilled meat. I'm starting to crave summer now.