Monday, July 19, 2010

Week #7 Challenge: 4 Servings of Vegetables Daily

Q:  Okay - so we're supposed to be eating vegetables this week - but how much is a serving? 

A:  Generally, 1/2 cup, except for fresh greens, which is 1 cup.  Please read the following:

The United States Department of Agriculture sets a serving size for fruit or vegetables to be equal to about one-half cup. Greens like spinach and lettuce have a serving size equal to one full cup. One serving of sliced fruit is equal to one-half cup; however a single piece of fruit, such as an apple or an orange counts as one serving. How did the USDA decide that one-half cup is a serving size? The decision was based on the portion sizes that people typically eat, ease of use and nutritional content of fruits and vegetables.
Many experts suggest we need from five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables every day. That is a total. Older or inactive women and smaller children need at least three servings of vegetables and two servings of fruit. Growing kids, teen girls, most men and active women would eat at least four servings of vegetables and three servings of fruit everyday. Teen boys and active men should eat at least five servings of vegetables and four servings of fruit. Unfortunately many people fail to eat even five servings each day.
Here are some typical serving sizes for fruits and vegetables:

  • one banana
  • six strawberries
  • two plums
  • fifteen grapes
  • one apple
  • one peach
  • one half cup of orange or other fruit juice
  • five broccoli florets
  • ten baby carrots
  • one roma tomato
  • 3/4 cup tomato juice
  • half of a baked sweet potato
  • one ear of corn
  • four slices of an onion 

One serving of a fruit or vegetable juice is four ounces. V8 Fusion claims to meet one serving of fruit and one serving of vegetables in one eight ounce glass. A large glass may hold about 12 ounces, which would give you three servings of fruits and vegetables. 


  1. Making smoothies is a great way to get in more fruits and vegetables. I add dark leafy greens to my smoothies: spinach, romaine, or kale. You would be surprised at how edible it really is. Start out with a small amount and work your way up to a larger serving size in time. I even "sneak" it in to my kids and husbands smoothies. Thanks Susette for introducing me to cabbage smoothies!

  2. i need to try a smoothie with spinich in it. we've been doing spinich and mushroom eggs, raw veggies with pesto ranch and straight-up V8 juice. I'm excited to do a stir-fry sometime this weekend...