Are you eating your veggies? Most Americans are not getting the recommended amount. The recommended daily intake of vegetables is three cups and we should all be eating at least two cups of fruit a day. According to the CDC, only 1 in 10 adults get enough fruits and vegetables. Yet, when you really get down to it, eating five cups of fruits and vegetables is not that much. Let’s break it down to what counts as a serving.
An apple, a banana, half a cup of dried fruit, one cup of broccoli, or two cups of spinach are all servings. A good way to get in the needed nutrients that we all need is to think about what is in season in your area.
What is in season in your area? Here in the Pittsburgh area we enjoy a diverse variety of apples from local farms. One apple is one serving of fruit. Apples are a delicious snack when dipped in nut butter or yogurt, sliced in a salad, warmed up and sprinkled with cinnamon for a tasty, health dessert.
Half a cup of dried fruit also counts as a serving of fruit. Make a trail mix with dried cranberry and a variety of nuts: cashew, almond, peanut.
Craving a fruit that isn’t in season? Why not pick up a bag of frozen blueberries or strawberries and add them to overnight oats, yogurt, or warm them up and spread them on toast with cream cheese? This is one of my kids’ favorites.
Only one in four Americans get their daily intake of vegetables. Vegetables are high in nutrients and fiber. They are also low calorie. Who doesn’t want a nutrient dense, low calorie, delicious meal? Grab your favorite veggies and sauté them with a little olive oil, salt and pepper to taste, and serve over quinoa or rice.
Don’t knock frozen and canned vegetables. They are packaged at the height of ripeness which means they are quite nutritious. Add a can of green beans to any meal or a bag of frozen broccoli florets. Broccoli added to a cheesy pasta dish is a favorite in my home. My favorite vegetable meal in the winter is leftover veggie soup with chunks of potato. Soup is an excellent way to get your daily intake of vegetables!
On your next grocery trip take a swing down the canned and frozen fruit and vegetable aisles. I often get my inspiration from what items are on sale.
Corey Flynn NDTR, CDM, CFPP
Here is what they mean: Nutrition and Dietetics Technician, Registered; Certified Dietary Manager; and Certified Food Protection Professional. She is also an ACE certified personal trainer.
Corey has degrees in nutrition, photography, and journalism. She enjoys adventure triathlons and hiking. She is currently working on a master’s degree in public policy and management with a concentration in environment and sustainability at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public and International Affairs while working full time and caring for her husband, three children, three cats, a beagle, two geckos, and one goldfish