September is “Fruit and Veggies – More Matters Month.” Why we need to focus a specific month for fruits and vegetables I don’t know. I think that the entire YEAR should be devoted to fruits and vegetables. Focus on eating fruits and vegetables every day of every month of the year.
However, here we are in September, which was formerly “National 5-a-Day Month,” and is now “Fruit and Veggies – More Matters Month.”
Why eat fruits and vegetables?
- They are the original fast food.
- They are low-calorie (with a couple of exceptions) and most are less than 100 calories per serving.
- They have been shown to help cut the risk of most cancers, including lung and skin cancer.
- They have been shown to help reduce risk of heart disease because of the many nutrients in them, including folate and potassium.
- They have been shown to help reduce aging, improve our skin, improve our eyes, and so much more.
VEGETABLES are fresh, frozen, canned, and dried vegetables and 100% vegetable juice. Most of us should get 2-3 cups of vegetables a day, depending on our calorie level.
What counts as a cup? Generally, 1 cup of raw or cooked vegetables or juice counts. If you have leafy vegetables, such as spinach, cabbage, or lettuce 2 cups counts as 1 cup.
FRUIT is fresh, frozen, canned, and dried fruit and 100% fruit juice. Most of us should get 1½ – 2 cups of fruit a day, depending on our calorie level.
What counts as a cup? Generally, 1 cup of 100% fruit juice counts and ½ cup of dried fruit counts. But the fresh, frozen or canned would be your best bet (only because it helps you feel more full compared to juice or dried fruit). Whole fruit, like apples or oranges, about the size of a tennis ball or baseball is equal to a cup of fruit (or about the size of a woman’s fist).
About juice: 100% juice is the way to go, if you must consume juice. But, only one of your fruit and vegetable servings should come from juice. This means one 8 ounce serving and no more. Ounce per ounce, juice has more calories than regular soda, so it has a LOT of calories and more nutrients.
So, how many servings did you get today?