Balance Your Day with 5-A-Day
When you make the decision to start eating a healthy, well-balanced diet, it is important to remember to eat your fruit and vegetables. In fact, it is recommended that you eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables a day.
It may seem difficult to get that many servings in. In fact, I hear a lot of people say they have a hard time getting that many servings in a day-until they learn just how much a serving size is.
The National Cancer Institute recommends the following servings sizes for fruit and vegetables:
- 1 medium fruit or ½ cup of small or cut-up fruit
- ¾ cup of 100 percent juice
- ¼ cup dried fruit
- ½ cup raw non-leafy or cooked vegetables
- 1 cup raw leafy vegetables (such as lettuce)
- ½ cup cooked beans or peas (such as lentils, pinto beans, and kidney beans
Another method you can use to measure serving sizes of fruit and vegetables is by using calories as an estimate.
According to the Mayo Clinic website, you can consider 25 calories of vegetables as one serving. For fruit, 60 calories equals one serving.
One Serving of Vegetables = 25 Calories
One Serving of Fruits = 60 Calories
Say you eat a banana: A medium sized banana has around 120 calories, so eating one banana gives you two servings of fruit.
You can also figure out the single serving sizes of the fruit and vegetables you are eating by visualizing the sizes.
- One medium orange or apple = tennis ball
- ¼ cup dried fruit = large egg
- 1 cup green salad = adult fist
- ½ cup cooked vegetable = billiard ball
- 1 broccoli spear = 2 small beanbags
- 1 small potato = computer mouse
- 6 ounces juice = hockey puck
I use all the methods when calculating my serving sizes, but experiment for yourself to figure out which method works best for you. Before you know, you'll find your daily diet packed full of fruit and vegetable servings!
Find cookbooks that help incorporate vegetables into your diet:
- FDA Food Guide Pyramid
- Energy density and weight loss: Feel full on fewer calories - MayoClinic.com
Weight-loss tip — Eat foods that are high in volume and low in calories.
- Free Diet Plans at SparkPeople
Free diet plans customized for you by SparkPeople.com. Other diets do not compare to the free diet tools and resources you get from SparkPeople. Register now and get a free membership for life!