Am I eating enough fruits and vegetables?

October 14th, 2020

A lot of people feel guilty of not getting their 5+ a day. Everyone knows it’s good for your health, but how do you really know if you’re eating enough and how can you get more servings in without feeling like a rabbit?

How many fruits/veggies are enough?

Someone who needs 2000 calories a day should eat 2 cups of fruit and 2 1/2 cups of vegetables a day.

While that 2000 calorie standard is an average that suits a lot of people, of course it doesn’t fit everyone. Fruit and vegetable servings are calibrated off of calorie requirements, which in turn are set by a person’s sex, age, and activity level.

Ideally, you should eat a fruit or vegetable at each meal. If you don’t, won’t, or can’t do that, at least eat a bunch of veggies with dinner to compensate for no produce at the other meals. You could also create a loaded smoothie at breakfast that has enough fruit (and vegetables) for the whole day.

Other suggestions include:

Breakfast: Large banana on cereal; lots of berries in yogurt

Lunch: Extra tomato and spinach in a wrap; big bowl of fruit salad; large apple for after

Snacks: Banana with peanut butter; dates; dried fruit

Dinner: Pre-dinner, munchies: baby carrots with hummus; cherry tomatoes; At dinner: big pile of cooked veggies; extra-large side salad.

The more you eat, the more nutrients you get.

Why do you need to eat fruit and vegetables?

Fruit and vegetables are full of vitamins and minerals that help your body to function properly. They contain:

  • antioxidants – these may help protect the body against harmful chemicals
  • fibre – the part of the plant that’s not digested. It maintains blood sugar levels, lowers cholesterol levels and prevents constipation

Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables daily can help reduce the risk of many leading causes of illness and death, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, and obesity.

If you want to learn more about healthy eating, you can visit the NZ Heart Foundation website here.