It’s Easy! Read On and Learn How.
There’s no shortage of research showing the many positive benefits we get when we eat a good amount of vegetables and fruits daily.
The challenge for many is that they don’t know what constitutes an ideal amount of vegetables and fruits that they should eat each day and what that looks like in terms of serving amounts. This article will give you the knowledge to easily solve that challenge.
The simple guidelines that follow are for general reference only. If you have a medical condition or health concern, consult with your doctor or a qualified health professional. If you have specific health, fitness or sports performance nutrition goals for yourself, a family member or friend, contact us and we’ll discuss how we can help.
How many servings of vegetables and fruits should you eat per day?
Answer: Eating an average of approximately 8-10 servings of veggies and fruits per day is an ideal target.
The general recommendation of 8-10 servings results from the following reasons (remember these are general and will vary between individuals for a variety of reasons including, but not limited to, lifestyle factors that include a person’s daily schedule, body type, activity level and of course, fitness, health and wellness goals):
- Eating approximately 2 servings of vegetables and/ or fruits with each meal provides a good foundation for optimal health (if you desire fat loss, eat more non-starchy vegetables than fruits).
- Eating small, healthy, nutritious and lean meals approximately every 2-4 hours, provides your body and mind with good steady energy intake and energy balance. This will also give your body and brain good or even great energy do all the physical and mental things that you do on a regular basis.
- Dividing the number of full day hours by your meal/ eating frequency (for example being awake for 15 hours will result in dividing 15 awake hours by the meal frequency of eating approximately every 3 hours and this results in a total of 5 meals you’ll eat in a day). If your day may involve waking up at 6:30 AM and going to sleep at 9:30 PM, your day is 15 hours long.
- Remember: # of Full Day Hours ÷ Meal/ Eating Frequency = # of Meals per Day (Is your day 15 hours long and you eat every 4 hours? 15 ÷ 4 = 3.75 or 4 meals for a given day).
- Eating small, healthy, nutritious and lean meals approximately every 2-4 hours results in eating approximately 5 meals per day (remember these are not big meals to make you feel “full” where you feel the amount of food in your gut). On the contrary, you’ll feel content, that is, you’ll satisfy your need and desire to maintain good energy and you’ll satisfy any feelings of hunger.
- As a result, eating approximately 2 servings of vegetables and fruits per meal, when you have 5 small meals in a day, will result in eating 10 servings of vegetables and fruits daily (of course it will vary and you may eat less than that or a little more).
- Eating vegetables and fruits helps improve your digestive system, including your ability to minimize the amount of time food stays in your body. In other words, vegetables and fruits help keep you regular by getting rid of waste on a more frequent basis.
- The fibre in vegetables and fruits also help to collect some of the excess fat that you may have eaten and promotes its removal from the body, kind of like a bunch of security guards removing an unwanted guest from a party (we need fat, but we don’t need or want too much; maybe unless you want to be a sumo wrestler).
Over the course of a day, eating small meals that include vegetables and/ or fruits may help you attain fat loss and achieve and maintain a lean body composition without even thinking about “dieting;” when you eat well, exercise regularly, keep active and manage stress effectively (among other good lifestyle habits), the body will take care of itself to your benefit.
The frequency of your meals (eating every 2 to 4 hours) and whether you eat more vegetables compared to fruits or vice versa can depend on your body type, lifestyle demands, activity and fitness levels, as well as any personal fitness or body goals that you may have, just to name a few factors. By following the 2-4 hour eating frequency recommendation, it’s easy to eat an ideal amount of vegetables and fruits by the time the day is done.
Vegetables (particularly non-root and or starchy vegetables) generally have a lower amount of natural sugar than fruits and as a result have fewer calories; this is one reason that eating less fruits and and eating more vegetables is a nutrition recommendation given to people who wish to reduce their body fat. The low amount of sugar in many vegetables helps with managing your body’s energy balance so that you feel great and can perform at your best.
It’s important to know that eating mostly vegetables that are very low in carbohydrates (an example is a person who is seeking fast fat loss and uses this strategy to drop body fat), with it’s low energy content, can lead to feelings of fatigue or low energy. You need sufficient energy from different types of foods that make up your meals so that your body and brain have an ideal amount of fuel to support your particular lifestyle which may include regular exercise/ training and other physical activities such as walking, hiking, playing sports and so on.
You can definitely benefit by getting professional help to understand your body’s energy needs and how to eat to fuel it effectively.
Ultimately, you want to feel good; we all do!
Eating in a way that does not provide the necessary energy to feel good is not a good strategy.
Below is a simple guide to a good strategy that will help you eat a good amount of vegetables and fruits each and ever day (or on most days).
Bonus: click the image below to see the full size document which you can also print and post on your fridge or anywhere you want for quick reference (go ahead and share it with family and friends).
See! That’s how easy it is to understand how to eat a good amount of vegetables and fruits daily.
Make sure you drink water regularly throughout the day as well; drink more water on the days that you exercise or partake in higher than normal levels of physical activity and on days that are relatively hot.
If eating 8 to 10 servings of vegetables and/ or fruits daily seems to be too much for you at first, especially if you are only eating a small or very small amount right now, simply increase your intake 1 or 2 servings at a time about every two weeks. This will give your body a chance to adjust to your improving eating habits.
Make it a nutrition priority to eat whole foods most of the time. But life is such that we may not eat the way we ideally want to in a given day or for short or long periods of time (a few days to maybe a few weeks or more for many people). If you find it challenging to be consistent with eating an ideal amount of vegetables and fruits, you may consider including quality multivitamins and supplements in your nutrition habits. Incorporating multivitamins and certain supplements can allow you to get many of the nutrients your body needs.
Visit our wellness portal and you can get a top rated brand of vitamins and supplements (there’s a questionnaire on our wellness portal that can provide a list of recommendations about which multivitamins and supplements will complement your lifestyle and goals; it’s a great feature).
You may also wish to include a vegetable supplement such as Greens+ vegetable supplements into your meal planning.
And that’s it!
Go on with your enhanced knowledge and new simple strategy to eating an ideal amount of vegetables and fruits daily; you’ll enhance your body and enhance your life.
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Berardi, John and Ryan Andrews. The Essenstials of Sport and Exercise Nutrition: Toronto. Precision Nutrition Inc, 2010. 433. Print.
Flood-Obbagy, Julie E. and Barbara J. Rolls. “The effect of fruit in different forms of energy intake and satiety at a meal.” Journal Appetite (2008): Journal of Appetite Online. 6 December 2008.
Oyebode, Oyinlola, Vanessa Gordon-Dseagu, Alice Waker and Jennifer S Mindell. “Fruit and vegetable consmption and all-cause, cancer and CBC motality: analysis of Health Survey for England data.” Journal of Epidimiology and Community Health (2014): Journal of Epidimiology and Community Health Online. 31 March 2014.