Everybody knows that eating fruit and vegetables is essential to a healthy diet. Both fresh and frozen fruits and veggies are low in calories and fat when compared to most processed foods and they also provide our bodies with all the necessary vitamins, minerals and nutrients needed for good health. In addition, eating a diet that focuses on fruit and vegetables also helps us to minimize our risks for developing potentially serious, chronic diseases such as diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. In addition, fruits and vegetables are high in fiber, so they help your digestive system by moving food through your intestines, which prevents constipation and other intestinal and digestive disorders. However, despite knowing that vegetables and fruits help keep us healthy and feeling good, most Americans do not eat enough of them in their daily diet.
Fruit and Vegetables Are Essential to a Healthy Diet
According to the latest research conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health, people who eat five servings of fruit and vegetables each day are 20% less likely to develop chronic diseases than those who eat less than the suggested five servings. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, eating between five and 13 servings of veggies and fruit daily is ideal for good health. These total recommended serving amounts equal between 2 ½ to 6 1/2 cups of fruits and vegetables each day, depending on the number of calories you consume based on your weight and activity level. To give an example, if your diet is typically comprised of 2,000 calories daily, you would want to make sure you have a minimum of nine servings of veggies and fruits, or about 4 1/2 cups split fairly evenly between the two.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture categorizes vegetables into five categories: dark green, legumes, orange, starchy and other types. When selecting vegetables to eat, you want to choose from each of these categories to maximize the variety of vitamins and minerals each category contains. For example, orange vegetables like carrots are rich in carotenoids, while broccoli, cabbage, and other dark greens offer high amounts of vitamin C. Legumes like peas and beans contain folate while starches like potatoes and squash are high in potassium.
If your diet averages around 2,000 calories each day, you’ll want to make sure that you are eating close to 2 cups of fruit throughout the day. Fruits with orange colored flesh such as mangoes, apricots and pink grapefruit provide vitamin A while citrus fruits, strawberries, and cantaloupe are packed with vitamin C. Starchy fruits like bananas provide a good dose of potassium. Be sure to remember that if you eat dried fruit, select varieties that do not contain additional sweeteners. With dried fruit, 1/2 cup equals 1 cup of fresh fruit.
If you’re new to adding more fruit and vegetables to your daily diet, you’ll be most successful if you portion out the servings throughout the day and try to eat a wide variety of veggies and fruit that you enjoy. If you try to add 1 1/2 cups of fruit to your breakfast, plus another 1/2 cup for an afternoon snack, you’ll meet the recommended amount for fruit quite easily. For veggies, if you add 1 1/2 cups to both your lunch and dinner – plus keep a small container of your favorites to snack on during the day, you’ll be getting your recommended daily amount as well.
Tommy’s Makes Eating More Veggies Easy!
Making a change to your diet isn’t always easy, but keep in mind that people who eat plant-based foods consume less calories, more fiber, and reduce their risk of chronic diseases. Here at Tommy’s Superfoods we try to make adding vegetables to your diet as easy and as delicious as possible. Pick up some of our easy-to-prepare frozen vegetable blends and enjoy the path to good health!