Most Americans do not get enough fruits and vegetables. MyPlate and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans call for most individuals to eat 4.5 cups of vegetables and fruits each day.
Adding enough fruits and vegetables to one’s diet is probably one of the most important steps towards good nutrition. Eating enough fruits and vegetables helps you get adequate nutrients and fiber, which can help you lower your risk for many diseases. Furthermore, fruits and vegetables displace foods that are high in calories and low in nutrients.
4.5 cups is about 9 servings of fruits and vegetables. Divide three meals by 4.5 cups to equal about 1.5 cups per meal.
Fruit for breakfast - the quickest thing out the door is a banana and 100% juice box. But you can also combine fruit with cereal or yogurt. Smoothies are also a good idea for those on the go - make them small and make them yourself.
Think big salad for lunch - most places, including McDonalds, offer an entree salad on their menu. You can also pack salads and fruits from home.
More vegetables for dinner - make stir-fry dishes, baked potatoes, vegetable soup, vegetarian chili and pasta with veggies during the week. Another salad or veggie side dish will help you reach your goal, too.
Don’t forget to have fruit for snacks and desserts. Many convenience stores and fast food restaurants carry fruit and it travels well from home, too.
Fruits and vegetables on the go:
-?McDonald’s - fruit and walnut salad, side salad, apple dippers.
- Starbucks - fruit salad
- Wendy’s - baked potato, salad
- Grocery stores - produce aisle has many convenience packs and salad bars
- Convenience stores - many offer fresh fruits and salads
Easiest to take with you:
- bananas (Chiquita is making a new travel banana in a single serving)
- grapes in bags
- baby carrots in bags
- tangerines (peel and store in baggie)
- canned fruits packed in juice
How to pack a salad for lunch at your desk:
- Place the lettuce and veggies in a plastic container. Nuts and croutons can go in a baggie on the side.
- Keep a bottle of vinegar at work (doesn’t need refrigeration) or a bottle of your favorite dressing if you have refrigerator access.
What’s A “Cup”?
- 2 cups raw leafy greens (lettuce, spinach)
- 1 cup fruit or vegetables, canned, fresh, frozen, raw or cooked
- 1/2 cup dried fruit
- 1 cup 100% fruit or vegetable juice
Judy’s passion for cooking began with helping her grandmother make raisin oatmeal for breakfast. From there she earned her first food service job at 15, was accepted to the world-famous Culinary Institute of America at 18 (where she graduated second in her class), and went on to the Fachschule Richemont in Switzerland where she focused on pastry arts and baking. After a decade in food service for Hyatt Hotels, Judy launched Food and Health Communications to focus on flavor and health. She graduated with Summa Cum Laude distinction from Johnson and Wales University with a BS in Culinary Art, holds a master’s degree in Food Business from the Culinary Institute of America, 2 art certificates from UC Berkeley Extension, and runs a food photography studio where her love is creating fun recipes.
Judy received The Culinary Institute of America’s Pro Chef II certification, the American Culinary Federation Bronze Medal, Gold Medal, and ACF Chef of the Year. Her enthusiasm for eating nutritiously and deliciously leads her to constantly innovate and use the latest in nutritional science and Dietary Guidelines to guide her creativity, from putting new twists on fajitas to adapting Italian brownies to include ingredients like toasted nuts and cooked honey. Judy’s publishing company, Food and Health Communications, is dedicated to her vision that everyone can make food that tastes as good as it is for you.