Vegetables and Fruit

I often hear friends and family members say that consuming their recommended number of vegetables and fruit on a daily basis can feel overwhelming and unrealistic at times.  Vegetables and fruit should make up the largest part of your diet, which I agree appears to be unattainable. 
However, when you consider the amount of meals and snacks you consume throughout the day, the number of fruit or vegetable servings can really add up.  Meeting your recommended number of servings is actually much easier than you think.  For example, when I think about the portion size of broccoli that I often eat with dinner, it’s typically about the size of a closed fist.  This amount of broccoli is equivalent to 1 cup, which equals 2 servings of vegetables.   If I eat that with a medium sized sweet potato, that’s 1 additional vegetable serving.  Add 1 cup of leafy greens as a side salad and that’s 1 more serving, which gives a total of 4 servings vegetable just from dinner.   

To assist you and your family in eating your recommended number of servings, here are some tips:
·         When you get home from the grocery store, cut your vegetables and store them in a container in the fridge.  This will save time throughout the week and allow the veggies to be ready to eat whenever you’d like.
·         Keep fruit visible and within reach by placing it in a bowl in your kitchen or on your desk at work.

·         Buy produce which is local and in season.  These items are flavourful and nutrient dense and you’ll be supporting your local community.  In season produce is often more affordable. 
·         If you’d like to eat your fruits and vegetables with breakfast, but lack time in the morning, plan ahead by preparing your breakfast the night before and refrigerate.  For example, prepare a yogurt parfait using low fat yogurt, granola and frozen berries or make a fruit and/or vegetable smoothie by placing your ingredients in the blender, and just attach it to the base in the morning to blend. 
·         Consider batch cooking by preparing vegetable soups or tomato sauce and freezing them into single or family size portions, so they’re ready to eat.   See Michele’s post about batch cooking here

To find out how many servings of vegetables and fruit you should be consuming, see Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide.