When you say five servings, do you mean five fruits and five vegetables, or do you mean something like three fruits and two vegetables or two fruits and three vegetables?
Tipper - About.com User
How did the USDA decide that one-half cup is a serving size? The decision was based on the portion sizes that people typically eat, ease of use and nutritional content of fruits and vegetables.
Fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytochemicals that may act as antioxidants that protect the cells in your body. Choose colorful and dark green fruits and vegetables for the most antioxidants. They're usually low in calories unless you add high calorie sauces, turn them into pies, or deep-fry them in oil. Make it easier to add increase the amount of fruits and vegetables you eat by keeping a bowl of fruit on your kitchen counter and serve fresh cut vegetables with dip instead of greasy potato or corn chips. I know potatoes and corn are vegetables too, but in the form of deep-fried chips, they're usually high in fat and sodium.
Many nutrition and dietary experts suggest you eat from five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables every day. That is a total. Older or inactive women and smaller children need at least three servings of vegetables and two servings of fruit. Growing kids, teen girls, most men and active women should eat at least four servings of vegetables and three servings of fruit every day. Teen boys and active men should eat at least five servings of vegetables and four servings of fruit every day. Unfortunately many people fail to eat even the minimum suggested level of five servings of fruits or vegetables each day.
Here are some typical serving sizes for fruits and vegetables:
- One banana
- Six strawberries
- Two plums
- Fifteen grapes
- One apple
- One pluot
- One peach
- One-half cup of orange or other fruit juice
- Five broccoli florets
- Ten baby carrots
- One Roma tomato
- Three-fourths cup tomato juice
- Three-fourths cup vegetable juice
- Half a baked sweet potato
- One ear of corn
- Half-cup whipped rutabaga
- Four slices of an onion
Do you have more questions? I may have the answers for questions about fruits and vegetables.
Nutrition Insights. "Serving Sizes in the Food Guide Pyramid and on the Nutrition Facts Label: What's Different and Why?" United States Department of Agriculture Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion. March 1999.