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Home / Tips and Tricks / How to Get Your Daily Servings of Fruits and Vegetables: A Visual Guide

How to Get Your Daily Servings of Fruits and Vegetables: A Visual Guide



fruits and vegetables on white background

Find out what a serving of fruits or vegetables looks like.

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Most people don’t eat enough fruit and vegetables every day to support their health as best as possible. While eating fruits and vegetables may sound simple, it is not always easy, especially for those dealing with high food prices or lack of access to healthy foods.

Even if you have access to fruits and vegetables, you may not know how much of each to eat each day – or what a serving of fruits or vegetables even looks like. If you’re trying to increase your fruit and vegetable consumption, use this photo guide to better understand serving sizes.

How Many Servings of Fruits and Vegetables Should You Eat Each Day?

Experts differ, but in general the answer is “more”. Seriously – the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that nine out of 10 Americans aren’t eating enough fruits and vegetables, so more than you’re eating right now is a good start.

But if you want concrete recommendations, check out the U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The latest version states that all adults on a 2,000-calorie diet should consume one to two cups of fruit per day and 2.5 cups of vegetables per day. Those numbers shift a bit depending on your exact calorie intake.

But that still doesn’t say how many servings of fruits and vegetables you should eat every day. Waking up every morning thinking you should consume 4.5 cups of product sounds a bit overwhelming.

healthy meal on a pastel painted picnic table

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You may have heard that you should eat five, seven, or even ten servings of fruits and vegetables every day, but those numbers don’t mean anything if you don’t know what a serving looks like.

What should a person do?

To make it more manageable, I recommend splitting the U.S. dietary guidelines recommendation into half-cup increments. So you would need four half-cup servings of fruit to meet the two-cup recommendation and five half-cup servings of vegetables to meet the 2.5-cup recommendation.

The American Heart Association supports this method, saying that a serving of vegetables can look like half a cup of fresh or frozen vegetables, and a serving of fruit can look like half a cup of fresh or frozen fruit. (There are some caveats, such as increasing the amount to one cup for leafy greens and cooked vegetables.)

However, a total of nine servings of fruits and vegetables may seem out of reach. And according to recent research, you may not even need that many. Eating more than five servings a day does not appear to provide additional health benefits. To be clear, we’re not saying you don’t aim for nine servings if that feels feasible for you. But don’t feel discouraged if it’s not already on the menu, as five servings a day can definitely improve your health.

What a daily serving of fruits and vegetables looks like

Using the AHA guidelines on what a serving looks like, plus the long-standing recommendation to eat a total of five servings a day, here are nine examples of what your daily intake of fruits and vegetables might look like.

5 servings of vegetables: 4 cups of lettuce, half a cup of mushrooms and a bell pepper for a good dose.

Five servings of vegetables: four cups of lettuce, half a cup of mushrooms, and a bell pepper for a good dose.

Amanda Capritto / CNET

Five servings of produce: a medium banana, a tomato, an orange, half a cup of broccoli, and half a cup of carrots.

Five servings of produce: a medium banana, a tomato, an orange, half a cup of broccoli, and half a cup of carrots.

Amanda Capritto / CNET

Five servings of produce: a cup of lettuce, a medium banana, an orange, half a cup of cherry tomatoes, and half a cup of blueberries

Five servings of produce: a cup of lettuce, a medium banana, an orange, half a cup of cherry tomatoes, and half a cup of blueberries.

Amanda Capritto / CNET

Five servings of produce: half a cup of blueberries, half a mango, a bell pepper, an avocado, half a cup of carrots

Five servings of produce: half a cup of blueberries, half a mango, a bell pepper, an avocado, and half a cup of carrots.

Amanda Capritto / CNET

5 servings of produce: half cup of broccoli, half cup of blueberries, half mango, half cup of bell pepper, half cup of mushrooms

Five servings of produce: half a cup of broccoli, half a cup of blueberries, half a mango, half a cup of paprika, and half a cup of mushrooms.

Amanda Capritto / CNET

Five servings of vegetables: 3 cups of lettuce, half cup of broccoli, half cup of bell pepper

Five servings of vegetables: three cups of lettuce, half a cup of broccoli, and half a cup of paprika.

Amanda Capritto / CNET

Five servings of fruit: half a cup of blueberries, half a mango, an apple, a cup of melon

Five servings of fruit: half a cup of blueberries, half a mango, an apple, and a cup of melon.

Amanda Capritto / CNET

5 servings of fruit: a cup of melon, a cup of pineapple, an apple

Five servings of fruit: a cup of cantaloupe, a cup of pineapple, and an apple.

Amanda Capritto / CNET

5 servings of produce: half a cup of mushrooms, half a cup of cherry tomatoes, a cup of pineapple, an avocado

Five servings of produce: half a cup of mushrooms, half a cup of cherry tomatoes, a cup of pineapple, and an avocado.

Amanda Capritto / CNET

The information in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended to be health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health care practitioner if you have any questions about a medical condition or health goals.


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