Research shows that a diet rich in plant-based foods, like fruit and vegetables, can help lower your risk of heart disease, cancer, and many other health conditions. To reap all the benefits of fruits and vegetables, you need to consume at least 5 to 9 servings per day. A serving is generally considered 1/2 cup chopped fresh fruit or 1/2 cup cooked frozen veggies. However, leafy greens like spinach and lettuce would be one full cup for a serving.
An easy way to increase your fruit and vegetable consumption is to strive for one serving of produce at each meal and snack. Keep a fruit bowl in your kitchen. Make oranges, apples, pears, and bananas easily accessible for you and your family. Try adding a new vegetable to your grocery list each week. Adequate vegetable intake is typically challenging for most people. Consider prepping and cooking your favorite vegetables in advance to help make adding them to recipes or an evening meal more realistic. Roasting a sheet pan of veggies on a Sunday night can help create a side dish or salad topping for the entire week. Fruit and vegetables make excellent snack options. Here are four plant-based snacks:
- Dried or freeze-dried fruit is a tasty and simple snack for lunches. A 1/4 cup is usually a serving of dried fruit.
- A smoothie with frozen berries, frozen bananas, and milk can provide two to three servings of fruit. Add a handful of spinach for a vegetable serving. Green smoothies are surprisingly tasty.
- Sliced carrots, cucumber, and pepper go great with hummus. Sliced fresh vegetables are refreshing and satisfying when you enjoy them with your favorite dip.
- Grapes are delicious enough on their own, but when you freeze red grapes, they taste like a popsicle.