Q: How many veggies and fruits should I eat everyday?

Answer:

“Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables.” “Americans just aren’t getting enough.” Chances are you’ve heard these phrases a time or two in the past. But what exactly does plenty mean? Five bowls of fruit? Six salads? Nine apples? Two sweet potatoes? How much is enough? The right amount for you depends on several factors, including age, gender, and physical activity. These characteristics determine how many fruits and vegetables you should be eating everyday. To get started, check our guidelines below to find the right amount that you need to enjoy on a daily basis. Physical activity has been categorized into three levels of exercise above the hustle and bustle of your everyday routine.

Lightly Active: An average of less than 30 minutes of exercise a day

  • Women ages 19-30: 2 cups Fruits + 2 1/2 cups Veggies = 4 1/2 cups TOTAL
  • Men ages 19-50: 2 cups Fruits + 3 cups Veggies = 5 cups TOTAL
  • Women ages 31-50: 1 1/2 cups Fruits + 2 1/2 cups Veggies = 4 cups TOTAL
  • Men ages 51+: 2 cups Fruits + 2 1/2 cups Veggies = 4 1/2 cups TOTAL
  • Women ages 51+: 1 1/2 cups Fruits + 2 cups Veggies = 3 1/2 cups TOTAL

Moderately Active: An average of 30 to 60 minutes of exercise a day

  • Women ages 19-50: 2 cups Fruits + 2 1/2 cups Veggies = 4 1/2 cups TOTAL
  • Men ages 19-30: 2 cups Fruits + 3 1/2 cups Veggies = 5 1/2 cups TOTAL
  • Women ages 51+: 1 1/2 cups Fruits + 2 1/2 cups Veggies = 4 cups TOTAL
  • Men ages 31+: 2 cups Fruits + 3 cups Veggies = 5 cups TOTAL

Very Active: An average of 60 minutes of exercise or more a day

  • Men ages 19-30: 2 1/2 cups Fruits + 4 cups Veggies = 6 1/2 cups TOTAL
  • Women ages 19-50: 2 cups Fruits + 3 cups Veggies = 5 cups TOTAL
  • Men ages 31-50: 2 1/2 cups + 3 1/2 cups Veggies = 6 cups TOTAL
  • Women ages 51+: 2 cups Fruits + 2 1/2 cups Veggies = 4 1/2 cups TOTAL
  • Men ages 51+: 2 cups Fruits + 3 cups Veggies = 5 cups TOTAL

Q: What is a serving?

A: Servings are typically measured by the 1/2 cup and cup, and can be tallied up to obtain a total for each day. The goal is to match the number of fruit and vegetable servings actually consumed each day with the total cup number recommended from the above guidelines. For most fruits and vegetables, one half cup represents a serving (including fresh, frozen, and 100% juice). A few exceptions include leafy greens, in which the serving is a full cup, and dried fruit, in which the serving is 1/4 cup. Setting all detailed, specific servings aside, the bottom line is to meet your daily cup totals for fruits and vegetables.

Q: What exactly does a cup look like?

A: A lot of fruits and vegetables, especially those that have been cut or chopped, are easy to measure. If it helps, dig those measuring cups out from the back of the drawer, give the fruit or vegetable in question a measure, and you’ve got your reference point. Generally speaking, for the uncut, a large piece of fruit (banana, grapefruit, apple) or vegetable (medium sweet potato, large ear of corn, bell pepper) is the equivalent of a cup.

Q: How do I eat that many servings a day?

A: Space it out and mix it up. For the herbivore-friendly novice, four or five cups of fruits and vegetables may seem a bit overwhelming. The idea is not to take down a quart of orange juice, or a pound of grapes in one sitting. Instead, space out your daily recommendation, and enjoy foods from a variety of sources. If your eating regimen consists of the standard three-meals-a-day with a snack, then aim for one to 1 1/2 cups at each meal, plus another 1/2 cup for a snack. If you prefer to eat six smaller meals a day, make sure you get 1/2 cup to a full cup of fruit or veggies at each mini meal.

Be good to yourself this year. Think in terms of color. If there is no color on your plate, rethink your selection and swap those potato chips for a colorful burst of essential nutrients. People who get “enough” or “plenty” of plant-based foods tend to have diets that are lower in calories, higher in fiber, and a reduced risk of chronic diseases. The benefits are immeasurable, and the endless buffet of available options leaves little excuse not to join Cooking Light’s efforts to Veggie Up!

 

Easy Oatmeal Muffins

INGREDIENTS:

1 1/2 c. any Aunt Jemima pancake mix
1 c. uncooked Quaker oats
1/2 c. packed brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 c. milk
1 egg
1/4 c. vegetable oil
1/2 c. peeled, chopped apple
1/3 c. raisins

 

DIRECTIONS:

Heat oven to 425 degrees. (more…)

Perfect Apple Pie

  • 6 – 7 tart apples
  • 3⁄4 to 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp. flour
  • 1⁄2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1⁄8 tsp. salt

Directions:

Pare apples and slice thin. Combine sugar, flour, spice and salt; mix with apples. Line a 9″ pie plate with pastry; fill with apple mixture; dot with butter. Adjust top crust; sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 400° for 20 minutes, then reduce heat to 350° and bake 15-20 minutes more, or until crust is golden brown.

Red Cherry Pie

  • 3⁄4 cup juice from cherries
  • 3⁄4 cup sugar
  • 1 1⁄2 tbsp. quick-cooking tapioca
  • 2 1⁄2 cups drained, canned, pitted red tart cherries
  • 3 to 4 drops almond extract
  • Few drops red food coloring
  • Pastry for 9″ pie
  • 1 tbsp. butter

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 450°. Combine juice, sugar, tapioca, cherries, extract, coloring and dash of salt. Let stand 20 minutes. Line a 9″ pie plate with pastry; fill with cherry mixture. Dot with butter. Top with pastry. Crimp the edges. Bake at 450° for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 375° and bake 45 minutes more.

Apple Crumb Pie

Apple Crumb Pie

Ingredients:

5-7 apples or 2-#2 cans sliced pie apples, drained

1-9: unbaked pastry shell

1/2 cup sugar

1 tsp. cinnamon

3/4 cup flour

1/3 cup butter or margarine

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400°. Pare apples and slice. Arrange in unbaked pie shell. Mix 1/2 cup sugar with the cinnamon; sprinkle over apples. Mix 1/2 cup sugar with the flour; cut in butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over apples. Bake at 400° for 40 minutes. Cool. Spoon whipped cream as topping when ready to serve

Old-Fashioned Cherry Pie

Cherry Pie

1 cup sugar

1⁄4 cup all-purpose flour

1⁄2 cup juice from cherries

3 cups drained, canned, pitted red tart cherries

1 tbsp. soft butter

4 drops almond extract

1⁄4 tsp. salt

6 drops red food coloring

Pastry for a 9″ pie

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400°. Combine sugar, flour and 1⁄4 tsp. salt; stir in juice. Cook and stir over medium heat until thick. Cook 1 minute longer. Add cherries, butter, extract and 6 drops of red fod coloring. Let stand while making pastry. Line a 9″ pie plate with pastry; fill. Top with pastry. Flute edges. Bake at 400° for 30 to 40 minutes.

Apple Pie

Recipe by:

Debbie Adams

Peel cooking apples, slice 2 inches think and place in  prepared pie crust. Sprinkle 2 tablespoon of flour over apples evenly. Sprinkle 1/2 cup sugar over flour, then  sprinkle lightly with  cinnamon. Place crust on top and pinch edges. Pats of butter 1/3 cube around crust on top (optional). Sprinkle 1 to 2 tablespoons of sugar and cinnamon on top. Makes holes or small slits. Bake at 350°

Joan’s Dreamscile Cake

Recipe by: Joan Adams

INGREDIENTS:

1 lg. can of Mandarin Oranges

1 small Orange Jello (sugar free)

10 oz. Cool Whip (sugar free)

2 cups Orange Sherbet, melted

1 Angle food cake, cut up in pieces

DIRECTIONS:

Use juice from can of Mandarin Oranges and water to make 1 cup of liquid. Bring juice mixture to a boil. Mix in Jello to juice mixture, then add the oranges. Add Sherbet and mix well; chill for 5-10 minutes, then add cool whip by spreading over cake.

Keep Refrigerated.