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!

 

Cream of Onion Soup

INGREDIENTS:

2 c. thinly sliced sweet onions
1/2 c. butter
1/4 c. flour
1 1/2 to 2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
4 c. milk

DIRECTIONS:
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Cottage Cheese Mashed Potatoes

INGREDIENTS:

4 c. warm mashed potatoes (without added butter and milk)

2 c. small curd cottage cheese

3/4 c. sour cream

1 tbsp grated onion

1-1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp. pepper

2 tbsp. butter or margarine, melted

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a bowl, combine potatoes, cottage cheese, sour cream, onion, salt and pepper. Transfer to a greased 2-qt. baking dish. Drizzle with butter.
  2. Bake, uncovered at 350° for 30-35 minutes.

Creamed Stewed Tomatoes

Recipe by: Tishia Adams

Ingredients:

1 small can of diced tomatoes

3 tbsp. flour

1⁄2 cup milk

salt, to taste

pepper, to taste

sugar, to taste

Directions:

Add flour to milk; stir so there are no lumps

Heat tomatoes in it’s own liquids in a medium sauce pan.

Add milk mixture to tomatoes, salt, pepper, sugar; Cook until think.

Pour creamed stewed tomatoes over mashed potatoes or eat by itself.

Fried Zucchini – Fried Green Tomato

2 med. zucchini, sliced 1/2 inch thick
1 c. milk
2 beaten eggs
2 tsp. pepper
1/2 c. Parmesan cheese (optional)
Olive oil
Directions:
Heat oil in skillet. Mix milk and eggs together; beat well. Dip zucchini slice in milk-egg mixture and roll in bread crumbs mixed with pepper and Parmesan cheese. Fry until brown on both sides. Works well with green tomato slices also.

Asparagus

By Debbie Adams

Asparagus: Steamed, Boiled, Blanched, and Creamed

Steamed:

  • First, you need to tie a bundle of asparagus spear together with kitchen string, just under the tips and aslo near the bottom, making sure the bottom ends are level. Place the bundle in a tall pot of 2 inches of boiling water, unless you have your very own asparagus steamer. Cover and steam for 5-8 minutes, depending on the thickness of the spears. While the ends of the asparagus are being boiled, the tips are actually being steamed. The end result should be bright green, crisp yet tender spears.

Boiling:

  • Lay the asparagus spears in a large skillet with about an inch of water. Boil for up to 5 minutes, depending on thickness of the spears.

Blanching:

  • If you are using the asparagus in salads or for other cold dishes, plunging the boiled or steamed asparagus in cold or iced water as soon as they are done immediately stops the cooking process and helps preserve the color and crispness of the asparagus.

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Recipe by

Debbie Adams

Creamed Asparagus:

1 lb. asparagus

3 tbsp. flour

1⁄2 cup milk

1 teaspoon salt

1⁄2 tsp pepper

5 slices bread, toasted

Directions:

Add flour to milk; stir so there are no lumps.

Cut asparagus into 1 inch pieces; cover with water and boil until tender.

Drain asparagus, keeping 1 cup liquid to remain with asparagus.

Add the milk mixture, salt, pepper and sugar. Cook until thick.

Pour creamed asparague over toast.

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Creamed Asparagus From a Can:

  • 1 can of asparagus, do not drain
  • 3 tbsp. flour
  • 1⁄2 cup milk
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • sugar, to taste
  • 4-6 slices of bread, toasted

Direction:

Add flour to milk; stir so there are no lumps

Heat asparagus in it’s own liquids in a medium sauce pan

Add milk mixture, salt, pepper, sugar. Cook until think.

Pour creamed asparagus over toast.

Sweet and Sour Beets

Recipe by, Debbie Adams

Ingredients:

2 can’s (15 oz. each) sliced beets, drained

1 tbsp. chopped onion

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup vegetable oil

3/4 cup vinegar

1 tsp. salt

Directions:

In a salad bowl, combine the beets, green pepper and onion. In a small bowl, whish the sugar, oil, vinegar and salt until sugar is dissolved. Pour over beet mixture and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Yields: 8 servings.