Ideas for Eating More Fruits
We know that they're good for us. We know that they're full of vitamins, minerals and fiber. They're even full of substances called phytonutrients, which help to fight diseases, like heart disease, diabetes, cancers and blood pressure.
But did you know that about 90 percent of Americans do not eat the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables per day? In general, adults should eat between 5 to 9 servings a day of fruit and vegetables combined, although the actual amount depends on your calorie requirements.
To meet the dietary guidelines, most Americans will have to double the amount of fruits and vegetables they eat every day.
How to Eat More Fruit
Fruits are nature's original snack food. Most come in their own "packaging" and can be grabbed when you're on the run. Some tips:
- Challenge yourself to meet your daily required servings of fruit. Go to MyPyramid.gov to find out how many servings of fruit you need for your gender, age, height and weight.
- Bring fruit to work every day. Keep little cans of fruit and tins of dried fruit at your work space. The canned fruit should be packed in its own juice or water, and remember that a serving of dried fruit is small. For example, a serving of raisins is about 1/4 cup.
- Keep a bowl of fruit on the table, or keep washed, cut and wrapped fruit front and center in your refrigerator for easy access.
- Drink 100 percent juice, but remember that six ounces equals one serving of fruit, or about the size of a coffee mug. Fruit juice is not a calorie-free beverage. Neither adults nor children should overdo juice.
Always Add FruitSome ways to sneak fruit into a meal:
- Sprinkle berries or cut-up fruit on cereal, waffles and pancakes
- Bake fruit quick breads
- Add sliced banana to a peanut butter sandwich
- Blend fruit with ice, milk or yogurt to make a smoothie.
- Toss chopped or dried fruit into chicken, tuna and turkey salads. Curried chicken salad with grapes and mango is good, as are cranberries with turkey, and apples, raisins and prunes with pork
- Add fruit to main dish casseroles, stews and rice. Dried apricots, currants, apples and blood oranges are favorites
- Serve chutneys, salsas and healthy jams with meat, fish and eggs
- Visit a Caribbean restaurant and have a dish made with limoncillo, mamoncillo or quenepa
- Make pretty fruit-based desserts, like baked apples, fruit compotes, cobblers, fruit salads with low-fat yogurt, and fruit in Jell-O
- Use lemon juice as a seasoning in dressings and marinades
How Much Fruit Should You Eat?
That depends on your age, gender, activity level and total daily calories required. Suggested intakes range from 3.5 to 6.5 cups of fruits and vegetables combined per day. For children, amounts range from 2 to 5 cups of fruits and veggies per day. For more detailed information, go to MyPyramid.gov. For more tips, recipes and menus, go to www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Produce for Better Health Foundation, www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org