Only 1 in 10 Adults Get Enough Fruits or Vegetables. If you are one of the 9, you might be missing out on the essential vitamins such as folate (folic acid), vitamin A, and vitamin C, minerals, and fiber that vegetables provide.
How Much Should I Eat?
As a general rule of thumb, adults should eat at least 2 to 3 cups per day of vegetables as part of a healthy eating pattern.
If you do not eat any veggies at all, try to encourage yourself to eat at least 1 daily cup for a month. Once you have achieved this, set your next goal = 1.5-2 cups per day.
Those of you who are active and already eating veggies, should aim for 3 cups of veggies daily.
What Counts As 1 Cup?
1 cup of raw or cooked vegetables or vegetable juice OR
2 cups of raw leafy greens can be considered as 1 cup.
Here a few examples:
(-) 1 cup of chopped broccoli,
(-) 2 cups of raw spinach,
(-) 2 medium carrots,
(-) 1 cup mashed, cooked pumpkin
(-) 1 large tomato or 1 cup of small tomatoes,
(-) 1 cup, cooked beans or peas,
(-) 1 cup raw cucumber,
(-) 2 cups of shredded lettuce.
Where Could I Squeeze Them In?
(-) Start each lunch or dinner with veggies eg. a small side salad
(-) Eat vegetables as a snack eg. with a low-fat cream cheese, salsa or hummus.
(-) Prepare a veggie soup on the weekend and eat 1 cup for dinner during the week eg. Squash-Ginger-Honey soup.
(-) Turn your vegetables into chips – eg. Kale chips.
(-) Use veggies for healthy sweets and breakfast options eg. Zucchini bread
(-) Add veggies to sauces eg. butternut squash, sweet potatoes
(-) Try veggie burgers eg. Tofu Bean Patties
Reduce The Risks of Chronic Diseases
Seven of the top 10 leading causes of death in the United States are from chronic diseases.
Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables daily can help reduce the risk of many leading causes of illness and death, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, and obesity.