Pamela Franz, R.N.
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Is it a challenge for you to eat all five servings of fruits and vegetables every day? The 1-2-3 approach can help you pack in all your servings — and more — throughout the day. Get six servings by eating:
- 1 serving with breakfast
- 2 with lunch
- 3 with dinner and snacks
Remember that the serving size for fruits and vegetables is about 4 to 6 ounces. However, measurements for one serving can differ depending on the food, such as:
- 1 cup of raw or cooked fruits and vegetables
- ½ cup of legumes
- 3 cups of leafy greens
When you add fruits and vegetables to your meals and snacks, you’ll find that getting six servings can be easy and fun. Use these ideas for each mealtime:
- Make a smoothie with fresh or frozen fruit. You can add a handful of spinach or kale.
- Mix berries and chopped fruits into pancake, muffin and waffle batter.
- Top your cereal, oatmeal or yogurt with berries, peaches, apples and bananas.
- Add vegetables, such as peppers, onions, spinach and peppers, to omelets, hash browns and breakfast potatoes.
- Bring a piece of fruit for an on-the-go breakfast.
- Add extra vegetables to your sandwich or wrap. If you are eating out, ask for extra vegetables.
- Make homemade vegetable soup for lunch. If you choose to buy soup from the store, compare nutrition labels and choose the option with the lowest amount of sodium.
- Build a salad with at least 3 cups of leafy greens. You can add chopped up vegetable and fruit for added flavor.
- Use leftover vegetables from last night’s dinner as a side dish.
- Top a baked potato with salsa or broccoli.
- Make a stir fry for dinner with lots of vegetables.
- Grill vegetables with a minimal amount of oil or oil spray on a kebab. Try grilling fruits, including peaches, pineapples and mangos.
- Add extra vegetables to pasta sauces, casseroles and soups. Mix onions, peas, beans, tomatoes, peppers and spinach into these dishes.
- Steam, microwave or roast vegetables for an easy side dish. You can use either fresh or frozen veggies.
- Keep frozen and canned foods on hand to easily add to meals.
- Incorporate fruit into your dessert. You can add it to gelatin desserts, make a parfait or have raw fruit.
- Keep raw veggies at your desk for an easy snack.
- Pack dried fruit in your purse or pocket to take with you during the day.
- Dip apple slices or baby carrots in small amounts of peanut butter or almond butter. Try sprinkling cinnamon on apple slices.
- Put fruits and vegetables in easily accessible locations, such as the front of your fridge or counter, which will stop you from reaching for other nonhealthy foods when you’re hungry. If you’re low on time, try buying prepared trays with fruits and veggies that are already washed and cut.
Remember that when it comes to fruits and vegetables, more is always better. Don’t be afraid to go over the recommended servings of fruits and vegetables each day. Eating more of these foods can help crowd out higher-calorie foods.