Sunday, March 7, 2010

Healthy Foodie Rule #4: Eat nine (9) servings of fruits and (especially) vegetables every day

Nine servings, say what? If that sounds impossible, keep in mind that nutritionists' agreed-upon serving sizes are pretty small.

One serving =
1/2 cup cooked vegetables
1/2 cup whole berries, sliced strawberries or fruit salad

1 small apple (a large apple cut into slices would be 2 servings)
1/2 large banana, or one whole small banana

1 cup salad greens

1 cup raw vegetables, such as carrots, bell peppers or sliced cucumbers

Healthy foodies should eat nine (or more) servings of vegetables and fruit each day for several reasons. They are the best sources of vitamins, antioxidants and other beneficial nutrients, as well as excellent sources of dietary fiber. They fill up your tummy and keep you from eating empty calories full of fat and sugar.

My best advice for achieving this daily goal is to have fruit and/or veggies with every meal and most snacks.
For instance, I always have fruit with breakfast, no matter what time of year it is. Right now I'm eating half a red grapefruit most mornings along with oatmeal or cold cereal heaped with berries. Salad (with fruit on it as well as raw veggies) or vegetable soup make up lunch whenever possible. And half our dinner plates are filled with cooked vegetables every night...unless we're eating out, which is a horse of a different color, naturally. (It's very hard to eat enough vegetables when dining out, alas.)

That's probably not going to be enough fruits and veggies, so I always have cut-up veggies for a mid-morning snack and/or with my lunch, and fruit snacks at least once but more likely twice a day.

It can be done, so give it a try!

Healthy Foodie Rules so far (a recap):
1. No supermarket or fast-food meat

2. Minimize liquid calories
3. Cook your food
4. Eat 9 servings of fruits and veggies every day

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