Fill Half Your Plate with Fruits and Vegetables at Each Meal

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Green Bell PepperFruits and vegetables are nutrition powerhouses, yet most people don't eat nearly enough of them each day! Let's take a look at the science behind MyPlate's recommendation to "fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables at each meal."

After all, maybe knowing a little bit more about why it's so important to eat enough fruits and vegetables at each meal will offer your clients the motivation they need to actually do it!

Recommendations from MyPlate:

  • "Eating a diet rich in vegetables and fruits as part of an overall healthy diet may reduce risk for heart disease, including heart attack and stroke."
  • "Eating a diet rich in some vegetables and fruits as part of an overall healthy diet may protect against certain types of cancers."
  • "Diets rich in foods containing fiber, such as some vegetables and fruits, may reduce the risk of heart disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes."

BerriesRecommendations from the Dietary Guidelines for Americans:

  • "Most vegetables and fruits are major contributors of a number of nutrients that are underconsumed in the United States, including folate, magnesium, potassium, dietary fiber, and vitamins A, C, and K."
  • "Consumption of vegetables and fruits is associated with reduced risk of many chronic diseases. Specifically, moderate evidence indicates that intake of at least 2 and 1/2 cups of vegetables and fruits per day is associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, including heart attack and stroke. Some vegetables and fruits may be protective against certain types of cancer."
  • "Most vegetables and fruits, when prepared without added fats or sugars, are relatively low in calories. Eating them instead of higher calorie foods can help adults and children achieve and maintain a healthy weight."
  • "Many Americans do not eat the variety and amounts of foods that will provide needed nutrients while avoiding excess calorie intake. They should increase their intake of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products, seafood, and oils. These food choices can help promote nutrient adequacy, keep calories in control, and reduce risks of chronic diseases."

TomatoesRecommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

  • "Eating more fruits and vegetables adds nutrients to diets, reduces the risk for heart disease, stroke, and some cancers, and helps manage body weight when consumed in place of more energy-dense foods"
  • "Diets rich in fruits and vegetables may reduce the risk of some types of cancer and other chronic diseases."
  • "Fruits and vegetables also provide essential vitamins and minerals, fiber, and other substances that are important for good health."

Recommendations from Other Studies:

  • Health-Promoting Components of Fruits and Vegetables in the Diet: "Regular consumption of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and other plant foods has been negatively correlated with the risk of the development of chronic diseases. […] More and more evidence suggests that the health benefits of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and other plant foods are attributed to the synergy or interactions of bioactive compounds and other nutrients in whole foods. Therefore, consumers should obtain their nutrients, antioxidants, bioactive compounds, and phytochemicals from a balanced diet with a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and other plant foods for optimal nutrition, health, and well-being."
  • SquashHealth Benefits of Fruits and Vegetables: "Fruits and vegetables also supply vitamins and minerals to the diet and are sources of phytochemicals that function as antioxidants, phytoestrogens, and anti-inflammatory agents and through other protective mechanisms."
  • Overview of the Health Benefits of Fruit and Vegetable Consumption for the Dietetics Professional: Selected Literature: "Current scientific evidence also suggests a protective role for fruits and vegetables in prevention of coronary heart disease, and evidence is accumulating for a protective role in stroke. In addition, a new scientific base is emerging to support a protective role for fruits and vegetables in prevention of cataract formation, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diverticulosis, and possibly, hypertension. […] Continued attention to increasing fruit and vegetable consumption is a practical and important way to optimize nutrition to reduce disease risk and maximize good health."

And, because I love ya, here's a free handout with some of my favorite fruit and vegetable research...

Fruit and Vegetable Research

Don't miss the handout all about ways to add more fruits and vegetables to your diet! You'll find it in the member-exclusive post Strategies for Fruit and Vegetable Consumption, which is available now!

Strategies More Fruits Veggies

Since we're here to help you look your very best, right now, we want to share a few more highlights from the Nutrition Education Store. Check out these wonderful fruit and vegetable resources...

Game: Name Those Fruits and Veggies!
Fabulous Fruits and Veggies Poster
Fruit and Vegetable Wellness Challenge Kit
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