This is the main content.

bowl of strawberriesFebruary is American Heart Month. By making changes in your lifestyle, including your eating habits, you may reduce your risk for heart disease. According to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, moderate evidence indicates that intake of at least 2 1/2 cups of vegetables and fruit per day is associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, including heart attack and stroke.

Most Americans are lacking when it comes to their fruit and vegetable intake. A study by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) reported that 87 percent of Americans don't meet recommendations for fruit consumption, and 91 percent don't meet recommendations for vegetable consumption.

How much do you need?

The amount of fruits and vegetables you need to eat depends on your age, sex, and level of physical activity. Recommended total daily amounts and recommended weekly amounts from each vegetable subgroup are shown in the two charts below.

Group Age Daily Recommended Amount
Children 2-3 years old
4-8 years old
1 cup
1 1/2 cups
Girls 9-13 years old
14-18 years old
2 cups
2 1/2 cups
Boys 9-13 years old
14-18 years old
2 1/2 cups
3 cups
Women 19-30 years old
31-50 years old
51+ years old
2 1/2 cups
2 1/2 cups
2 cups
Men 19-30 years old
31-50 years old
51+ years old
3 cups
3 cups
2 1/2 cups
Group Age Daily Recommended Amount
Children 2-3 years old
4-8 years old
1 cup
1 to 1 1/2 cups
Girls 9-13 years old
14-18 years old
1 1/2 cups
1 1/2 cups
Boys 9-13 years old
14-18 years old
1 1/2 cups
2 cups
Women 19-30 years old
31-50 years old
51+ years old
2 cups
1 1/2 cups
1 1/2 cups
Men 19-30 years old
31-50 years old
51+ years old
2 cups
2 cups
2 cups

 

Know your servings.

What is a cup?

In general, 1 cup of fruit or 100% fruit juice, or a 1/2 cup of dried fruit can be considered as 1 cup from the fruit group. The chart below shows specific amounts that count as 1 cup of fruit toward your daily recommended intake.

In general, 1 cup of raw or cooked vegetables or vegetable juice, or 2 cups of raw leafy greens can be considered as 1 cup from the vegetable group. The chart below lists specific amounts that count as 1 cup of vegetables.

Vegetable Equivalent to
1 cup of vegetable
Equivalent to
1/2 cup of vegetables
Dark Green Vegetables
Broccoli 1 cup chopped or florets
3 spears 5" long raw or cooked
Greens (collards, mustard greens, turnip greens, kale) 1 cup cooked
Spinach 1 cup, cooked
2 cups raw
1 cup raw
Raw leafy greens: Spinach, romaine, watercress, dark green leafy lettuce, endive, escarole 2 cups raw 1 cup raw
Red and Orange Vegetables
Carrots 1 cup, strips, slices, or chopped, raw or cooked
2 medium
1 cup baby carrots (about 12)
1 medium carrot
About 6 baby carrots
Pumpkin 1 cup mashed, cooked
Red peppers 1 cup chopped, raw, or cooked
1 large pepper (3" diameter, 3 3/4" long)
1 small pepper
Tomatoes 1 large raw whole (3")
1 cup chopped or sliced, raw, canned, or cooked
1 small raw whole (2 1/4" diameter)
1 medium canned
Tomato juice 1 cup 1/2 cup
Sweet potato 1 large baked (2 1/4" or more diameter)
1 cup sliced or mashed, cooked
Winter squash (acorn, butternut, hubbard) 1 cup cubed, cooked 1/2 acorn squash, baked = 3/4 cup
Beans and Peas
Dry beans and peas (such as black, garbanzo, kidney, pinto, or soy beans, or black eyed peas or split peas) 1 cup whole or mashed, cooked
Starchy Vegetables
Corn, yellow or white 1 cup
1 large ear (8" to 9" long)
1 small ear (about 6" long)
Green peas 1 cup
White potatoes 1 cup diced, mashed
1 medium boiled or baked potato (2 1/2" to 3" diameter)
French fried: 20 medium to long strips (2 1/2" to 4" long) (Contains added calories from solid fats.)
Other Vegetables
Bean sprouts 1 cup cooked
Cabbage, green 1 cup, chopped or shredded raw or cooked
Cauliflower 1 cup pieces or florets raw or cooked
Celery 1 cup, diced or sliced, raw or cooked
2 large stalks (11" to 12" long)
1 large stalk (11" to 12" long)
Cucumbers 1 cup raw, sliced or chopped
Green or wax beans 1 cup cooked
Green peppers 1 cup chopped, raw or cooked
1 large pepper (3" diameter, 3 3/4" long)
1 small pepper
Lettuce, iceberg or head 2 cups raw, shredded or chopped 1 cup raw, shredded or chopped
Mushrooms 1 cup raw or cooked
Onions 1 cup chopped, raw or cooked
Summer squash or zucchini 1 cup cooked, sliced or diced
Fruit Equivalent to
1 cup of fruit
Equivalent to
1/2 cup of fruit
Apple 1/2 large (3.25" diameter)
1 small (2.5" diameter)
1 cup sliced or chopped, raw or cooked
1/2 cup sliced or chopped, raw or cooked
Applesauce 1 cup 1 snack container (4oz)
Banana 1 cup sliced
1 large (8" to 9" long)
1 small (less than 6" long)
Cantaloupe 1 cup diced or melon balls 1 medium wedge (1/8 of a med. melon)
Grapes 1 cup whole or cut-up
32 seedless grapes
16 seedless grapes
Grapefruit 1 medium (4" diameter)
1 cup sections
1/2 medium (4" diameter)
Mixed fruit (fruit cocktail) 1 cup diced or sliced, raw or canned, drained 1 snack container (4 oz) drained = 3/8 cup
Orange 1 large (3-1/16" diameter)
1 cup sections
1 small (2-3/8" diameter)
Orange, mandarin 1 cup canned, drained
Peach 1 large (2 3/4" diameter)
1 cup sliced or diced, raw, cooked, or canned, drained
2 halves, canned
1 small (2" diameter)
1 snack container (4 oz) drained = 3/8 cup
Pear 1 medium pear (2.5 per lb)
1 cup sliced or diced, raw cooked, or canned, drained
1 snack container (4 oz) drained = 3/8 cup
Pineapple 1 cup chunks, sliced or crushed, raw, cooked or canned, drained 1 snack container (4 oz) drained = 3/8 cup
Plum 1 cup sliced raw or cooked
3 medium or 2 large plums
1 large plum
Strawberries About 8 large berries
1 cup whole, halved, or sliced, fresh or frozen
1/2 cup whole, halved, or sliced
Watermelon 1 small (1" thick)
1 cup diced or balls
6 melon balls
Dried fruit (raisins, prunes, apricots, etc.) 1/2 cup 1/4 cup or 1 small box raisins (1.5 oz)
100% fruit juice (orange, apple, grape, grapefruit, etc.) 1 cup 1/2 cup

 

Tips to increase fruit and vegetable intake.

Follow these tips to increase your fruit and vegetable intake:

  • Grab a Publix parfait from the produce section for breakfast or as a snack.
  • Whip up a smoothie for breakfast. Blend Publix frozen fruit such as berries, peaches, or cherries with low-fat yogurt and milk.
  • Portable fruits such as apples, bananas, and plums are nature's fast foods. Grab one for a quick and easy snack to take to work.
  • Grill vegetable kabobs as part of a barbecue meal. Try tomatoes, mushrooms, green peppers, and onions.
  • Get creative with your leftover fruits and vegetables. Make salsa from your tomatoes and smoothies from your fruits.
  • Use cut up veggies such as zucchini, bell peppers, or onions to add color to meatloaf, soups, and casseroles.
  • Buy fresh fruits and vegetables in season. They cost less and are likely to be at their peak flavor. Swing by the produce department and pick up At Season’s Peak strawberries.
  • All forms count. Frozen and canned fruits and vegetables can be just as nutritious as fresh. The Better Choice tags can help you avoid those with added sugar or added sodium.
  • Choose the right combos. Many restaurants offer soup/salad/sandwich options to mix and match. Try the vegetable soup, or order extra veggies on your sandwich (try sliced peppers, cucumbers, and avocados in addition to lettuce and tomato). Choose a salad for a variety of fruit and veggie options.
  • Create your own vegetable plate. Many restaurants offer two or three vegetable selections, which can often change daily.
  • Order options on the menu that include lots of vegetables, such as stir-fry or fajita entrees.

 

Sources:

Recipes

Active Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes

Taking Steps Toward Better Health

The journey toward healthy living isn't always easy, but there are many great resources that can provide tips and information to help encourage you along the way.

Health Articles

woman at holiday party

Lighten Up for the Holidays

Make a few better choices to lighten up during the holidays.