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.
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.
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.