How many cups of vegetables in this salad? Make a quick salad with 4 cups of lettuce and 2 cups of mixed chopped vegetables. How many cups of vegetables will this serve? The answer is 4. (4 cups of lettuce counts as 2 cups of vegetables plus 2 more cups of chopped veggies makes 4). If 2 people share that salad, they each get 2 servings of vegetables - the lesson is to have a large salad each day!
Discussion about subgroups. Ask the audience if they know the purpose of the subgroups of vegetables (dark green, red and orange, legumes, starchy, others). The answer of course is that vegetables are sorted into subgroups according to their nutrient content.
Sort the subgroups. Put a large basket of vegetables on the table, including ones from each subgroup. Work as a class to sort them into the 5 subgroups: dark green, orange, legumes, starchy and others. This can also be a relay race with teams. Be sure to include vegetables in season and talk about cooking tips for each one.
What counts? Show them all the types of vegetables that count - canned, fresh, frozen, etc.
Here is our favorite salad recipe:
4 cups romaine, chopped
1 tomato, chopped
1/2 zucchini, chopped
1 cup broccoli, chopped
2 Tbsp red onion, chopped
2 Tbsp pecans, chopped
1 carrot, grated
2 Tbsp olive oil
4 Tbsp flavored vinegar
Dash dried oregano
Black pepper to taste
Toss all ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Serve immediately or chill up to 1 hour before serving. Serves 4. Each 2-cup serving: 133 calories, 9 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 18 mg sodium, 12 g carbohydrates, 3 g fiber, 2 g protein. Diabetic exchange: 2 veg, 1 fat.
What counts as fruit? Display fresh fruit, dried fruit, fruit juice, canned fruit (in juice or water) and frozen, unsweetened fruit. All of these count as fruit and each one has an advantage for convenience. Explain how to avoid added sugars with canned or frozen fruit.
Show how to tell if a juice is 100% fruit juice by the Nutrition Facts Label. Explain that it is important to limit fruit juice because it doesn’t have the fiber of the whole fruit.
Here is the equivalent of one cup fruit:
- 1 cup of fruit
- 1 cup 100% fruit juice
- 1/2 cup of dried fruit
- 1 medium-sized fruit
Easy ways to 2 cups per day. Most people require 2 cups of fruit per day. Show how easy it is to get 2 cups of fruit per day. Here are some fun combos: 1 banana, 1 bowl of berries - 1 orange, 1 apple - 1 cup melon, 1 fruit smoothie
Check out the difference. Compare calories on cans of fruit with syrup versus fruit packed in water or juice. Calorie differences are pretty significant. It might be interesting to see if they can guess the difference before you tell them. Compare the calories. Fresh fruit is usually the lowest calorie fruit choice.
Make a display showing each of the following fruit choices with labels showing the corresponding calories: - 1 fresh apple 71 - 1/2 cup raisins 216 - 1 cup apple juice 116 - 1 cup canned peaches in heavy syrup 251. This display will show participants that dried fruit and canned fruit in heavy syrup are much higher in calories.
Stephanie Ronco has been editing for Food and Health Communications since 2011. She graduated from Colorado College magna cum laude with distinction in Comparative Literature. She was elected a member of Phi Beta Kappa in 2008.