- Food and Cooking
Start the Day Right: Eating Enough Fruit
Are You Getting Your Five a Day?
Of course, we always knew that fruits and vegetables were important part of our nutrition, but then the government advised eating five servings a day. That's when it hit all of us that we were really shorting ourselves. We tried to squeeze more fruit and vegetables into breakfast, lunch and dinner.
(photo of mixed fruit by Virginia Allain)
It's hard if one of those meals was fast food. Does ketchup, pickles and onion on a burger count as a vegetable serving? If you are careless in the early part of the day, then it became difficult to make up with extra portions of fruit and vegetables with the evening meal. No, I don't want four servings of broccoli with my chicken.
Some days I'd be diligent about having a salad for lunch and an apple for my afternoon break at work.
Graphic from Zazzle: Half Apple by nassosvakalis
Unfortunately our intake of fruits and vegetables varied widely from day-to-day. Then the government raised the bar again. Now it was five to thirteen servings of fruits and vegetables a day. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, that's 2Â½ to 6Â½ cups per day. Since we were struggling trying to reach the five servings, this new guideline seemed even more unattainable.
Here's the solution that works for us. Now we find ourselves eating more fruits and vegetables daily and usually meeting our goals.
(photo by Virginia Allain)
Fruit Is an Important Part of Your Daily Foods
That's when we decided to start eating fruit, lots of fruit, early in the day. If we got off to a good start with fruit for breakfast, then we were more likely to reach our goal.
First we made sure to have plenty of fresh fruit in the house and some canned fruit for back up. Every morning I fixed a large cereal bowl full of ready-to-eat fruit. The mix might look like this: sliced banana, green grapes, blueberries, sliced strawberries, and orange slices. It varied from day-to-day depending on what was in season and what we had on hand. The fruit bowl might include cantelope, sliced apples, canned pineapple chunks, watermelon, and even the pricey raspberries once in a while.
After eating our bowls of fruit, we had a serving each of yogurt with fruit in it. Now, no matter how the rest of the day went, we had a good start on our goal of eating more fruits and vegetables.
Eat Fruit in a Variety of Ways - Click on each photo to see it larger (photos by Virginia Allain)Click thumbnail to view full-size
Make a Pretty & Appetizing Fruit Salad - for breakfast
Make Sure Your Desserts Include Fruit Too
During the summer, with fruit readily available, I like to make blueberry crumble and sometimes strawberry-rhubarb crumble. It intrigued me to see some of these old-fashioned ways to turn fruit into a tasty dessert.
Keep Plenty of Fruit on Hand
Be Truthful, Do You Eat Fruit Every Day?
How Often Do You Eat Fruit
Dried Fruit Stores Well for Eating at the Office - available from Amazon
Dried fruit, like these banana chips, keep without refrigeration so you can stash them in your desk drawer.
The drying process causes the natural sugars to concentrate in the fruit making it taste sweeter.
What's Your Favorite Dried Fruit?
Vote in the Poll
How Much Is a Serving?
Since fruit comes in irregular sizes, at first it can be difficult to determine if you are eating enough servings in a day. The Harvard School of Public Health gives 1/2 cup as a normal size for a serving of fruit or of vegetables. For dried fruit, one only needs to eat half as much to get a serving (1/4 cup of raisins, for example, would be a serving). For leafy greens like cabbage or spinach, you have to eat twice as much (1 cup of lettuce would be a serving).
- What the Serving Sizes for Fruits and Vegetables Are (click here for the whole article)
You probably know that you need to eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables every day, but do you know how big each of those servings are?
Graphic from Zazzle: Watermelon by slinky789