Guidelines for Americans
the Guildelines into Practice
for Nutrition Policy and Promotion
States Department of Agriculture
know I should eat more fruits and vegetables. But how??"
can I get my kids to eat more vegetables?"
oranges the only foods with vitamin C?"
Any of these
questions sound familiar? Fruits and vegetables are key parts of your
daily diet. Everyone needs 5 to 9 daily servings of fruits and vegetables
for the nutrients they contain and for general health.
and health may be reasons you eat certain fruits and vegetables, but there
are many other reasons why you choose the ones you do. Perhaps it is because
of taste, or physical characteristics such as crunchiness, juiciness,
or bright colors.
eat some fruits and vegetables because of fond memories - like watermelon
or corn at cookouts, your mom's green bean casserole, or tomatoes your
dad brought in from the backyard garden. Or you may simply like them because
most are quick to prepare and easy to eat.
the reasons you select certain fruits and vegetables, the important thing
is that you eat them and encourage children to do the same. With such
a large selection of fruits and vegetables to choose from-with colors
across the rainbow-you can find a variety to eat. Look at Box 1 and check
off some of your favorites.
Fruits and vegetables give you many of the nutrients that you need:
vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber, water, and healthful phytochemicals.
Some are sources of let vitamin A, while others are rich in vitamin
C, folate, or potassium. Almost all fruits and vegetables are naturally
low in fat and calories and none have cholesterol. All of these healthful
characteristics may protect you from getting chronic diseases, such
as heart disease, stroke, and some types of cancer.
great and they're bright and colorful, easy to find, and easy to prepare
and eat. There are so many to choose from. Fruits are available in many
different forms - fresh, frozen, canned, dried, and as juice. All are
good ways to get the recommended 2 to 4 servings of fruits a day. (Check
Box 2 to see how many you need.) Here are some ways you can eat more fruits
throughout the day.
breakfast, top your cereal with bananas or peaches; add blueberries
to pancakes; drink 100% orange or grapefruit juice.
lunch, pack a tangerine, banana, or grapes to eat, or choose
fruits from a salad bar. Don't forget inidividual containers of fruits
- they are easy and convenient. Kids think they're fun!
dinner, add crushed pineapple to coleslaw; include mandarin
oranges in a tossed salad; have a fruit salad for dessert.
snacks, spread peanut butter on apple slices; have a frozen
juice bar (100% juice); top frozen yogurt with berries or slices of
kiwi fruit; snack on some dried fruit.
What vitamin do you associate with oranges and other citrus fruits?
Vitamin C is correct! Citrus fruits are rich in this vitamin, but
did you know that strawberries, mangoes, red peppers, and tomatoes
are also sources of vitamin C? Vitamin C helps heal cuts and wounds
and also keeps your gums healthy.
of us, summertime just wouldn't be the same without fresh produce. Maybe
you garden or take trips to a local farmers market. Even your grocery
store may have more fruits and vegetables in the summer. With vegetables,
you and your family are getting delicious food and, nutritionally, you
are getting many of the nutrients needed for good health vitamins, minerals,
and dietary fiber.
vegetables are available not only fresh, but frozen, canned, dried, and
as juice. You can eat them raw, steamed, boiled, stir-fried, grilled,
microwaved, or baked. Aim for 3 to 5 servings of vegetables a day. (Check
Box 2 to see how many you need.) Here are some ways you can jazz up vegetables
to make them even more flavorful... to help you eat the servings you need.
Top corn or black beans with salsa or a dash of hot sauce.
Add garlic to mashed potatoes.
Add a dash of nutmeg to spinach dishes.
Add cooked, chopped onions to cooked peas.
Add sliced or diced vegetables to meatloaf, stews, or scrambled eggs.
Make a grated carrot salad.
Cook zucchini and stewed tomatoes together.
Mix green beans, Italian dressing, and almonds together.
Stirfry broccoli with chicken or beef.
Microwave broccoli and sprinkle on Parmesan cheese
Microwave a sweet potato with ground cloves or cinnamon on top.
Heat frozen mixed vegetables for a last-minute side dish.
1. Fruits and vegetables in a rainbow of colors
off the fruits and vegetables that you enjoy eating.
Do you eat a variety, including some from each category?
beans and peas
Black beans (turtle beans)
Chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
Dark- and light-red kidney beans (Mexican beans)
Great Northern beans (white beans)
Green and red lentils
Navy beans (pea beans)
Small red beans (Mexican red beans)
Tofu (soybean curd)
do you eat?
vegetables differ in the nutrients they contain. To promote health, include
some from each category regularly.
and vegetable tips
Tips to eating
more fruits and vegetables
There are so many fruits and vegetables to choose from. Try berries, half
a grapefruit, or dried apricots for dessert or snack. Add kidney beans
or black-eyed peas to your next soup, stew, or salad.
to your senses.
Most people prefer crunchy foods over mushy ones. Enjoy raw fruits, and
serve vegetables raw or lightly steamed. This will also help retain more
of the valuable nutrients that may decrease during cooking.
Nowadays, you can buy fruits and vegetables that are pre-cut and packaged
for minimal preparation and quick eating. Pick up a bag of salad greens
and some baby carrots and have a salad in seconds.
dips or dressings on the side.
Many fruits and vegetables taste great with a dip or dressing. Try low-fat
yogurt or pudding as a dip for fruits like melons. Try low-fat salad dressing
with raw broccoli, red and green peppers, or cauliflower.
vegetables to your favorite foods.
Shred carrots or zucchini into meatloaf or casseroles. Include chopped
vegetables in pasta sauce or lasagna. Order a veggie pizza.
fruits and vegetables around and "in sight."
Studies show that families that have fruits and vegetables around eat
more of them. So, keep fruits and vegetables visible. Put a bowl of fruit
on the table and keep cut-up carrot and celery sticks in a clear container
in the refrigerator.
Make a fruit smoothie by blending low-fat milk or yogurt with fresh or
frozen fruit. Try strawberries, bananas, peaches, and other fruits.
fruits and vegetables as ingredients.
Try applesauce as a fat-free substitute for some of the oil when baking
cakes. Add pureed, cooked vegetables to thicken stews and soups. These
add additional flavors and textures to foods.
Try a chef's salad for lunch, a fruit salad for dessert, or mixed greens
along with your dinner. Many vegetables taste great in salads-try something
different, like baby spinach, garbanzo beans, cauliflower, or red cabbage.
on fruits and vegetables.
For a crunchy snack, try baby carrots or a crispy apple. For smooth and
sweet, have a banana. Need a flavor jolt? Munch on dried apricots. Treat
yourself to the luxury of fresh raspberries.
kids enjoy more fruits and vegetables
It can be
tough to get kids to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables. Don't force
the foods, but continue to offer a variety. Try these ideas:
a good example by eating fruits and vegetables yourself. You
are a role model for your kids in so many ways. Eating is no exception.
When your kids see you eating and enjoying fruits and vegetables, they
lots of choices. Give children a choice of fruits for lunch.
Let them help decide on the dinner vegetables or what goes into the salad.
your children help. Kids enjoy helping in the kitchen, and are
often more willing to eat foods they help choose and prepare. Depending
on their ages, kids can help shop for, clean, and prepare fruits and vegetables.
Keep foods separate. Kids often prefer foods served separately.
If they want to mix peas and corn, let them do it themselves.
You've heard that "carrots are good for your eyesight." That's
because carrots contain carotenoids (beta-carotene, for example) that
form vitamin A-a vitamin that helps keep your eyes healthy. Broccoli,
spinach, pumpkin, winter squash, and sweet potatoes are also sources of
carotenoids-so are tomatoes, apricots, and cantaloupe. In addition to
your eyes, vitamin A is good for your skin and also helps protect you
fiber... for your health
We hear a
lot about "dietary fiber" these days-and for good reason. Research
suggests that it is important for proper bowel function by keeping us
"regular." But what exactly is dietary fiber? It is the part
of plants that the human digestive tract cannot break down. As a result,
dietary fiber keeps waste moving through our intestines.
us don't eat enough dietary fiber, and health experts suggest we eat more.
Dry beans and peas are the best sources of fiber. There are a wide variety
of these tasty foods in different sizes, shapes, flavors, and colors.
Have you heard of (or tried) many of these different types of dry beans
and peas in Box 1? Sounds like a pretty colorful list, doesn't it? Try
a new one today!
to dry beans and peas, many fruits and vegetables provide fiber. Be "fiber
smart." Some forms of a food are better sources of fiber than others.
(See Box 3.) Choose whole fruits and vegetables more often.
2. How many fruits and vegetables do you need each day?
you getting 5 to 9 servings a day?
calories needed each day
ages 2 to 6, women,
some older adults
children, teen girls,
active women, most men
boys and active men
counts as a serving?
½ cup fruit
1 medium piece of fruit
¼ small cantaloupe
¼ cup dried fruit
½ cup berries
a dozen grapes
3/4 cup fruit juice (100% juice)
½ cup chopped vegetables
1 cup raw leafy vegetables (a small salad)
6-8 carrot sticks (3" long)
1 medium potato
½ cup cooked or canned dry beans or peas
3/4 cup vegetable juice
3. Did you know? The fiber content of different forms of food can
the Nutrition Facts panel on packaged foods for dietary fiber content.
Cooked, dry beans and peas are good sources of dietary fiber and protein,
and are low in fat and cholesterol-free. In addition, they provide magnesium,
iron, zinc, and folate. Americans often don't get enough of these nutrients.
"5 A Day": Aim for at least 2 servings of fruits and 3 servings
of vegetables every day. See Box 2 to find out how many servings you need.
eating pattern according to the Food Guide Pyramid, including a of fruits
and vegetables, to ensure that you get all the nutrients you need for
a healthy diet.
or cut-up fruits and vegetables rather than juices most often; juices
contain little or no dietary fiber.
eating examples for your children.
5 to 9 a Day for Better Health
A Day for Better Health program encourages all Americans
to eat 5 to servings of fruits and vegetables a day for good health.
for the 5 A Day logo in the produce section of your grocery store
and on packaged fruits and vegetables.
Guidelines for Americans
Dietary Guidelines offer sound advice that will help to promote your health and
reduce your risk for chronic diseases such as heart disease, certain cancers,
diabetes, stroke, and osteoporosis. The 10 Guidelines are grouped into
the ABC's of nutrition:
Aim for fitness
Aim for a healthy weight.
Be physically active each day.
Build a healthy base
Let the Pyramid guide your food choices.
Choose a variety of grains daily, especially whole grains.
Choose a variety of fruits and vegetables daily.
Keep food safe to eat.
Choose a diet that is low in saturated fat and cholesterol and moderate
in total fat.
Choose beverages and foods to moderate your intake of sugars.
Choose and prepare foods with less salt.
If you drink alcoholic beverages, do so in moderation.
Dietary Guidelines publications, call 888-878-3256. Ask for the Dietary
Guidelines for Americans (40-page bulletin, $4.75 per copy) or Using the
Dietary Guidelines for Americans (5-panel brochure, $.50 per copy).
also find out more about the guidelines and download these publications
by visiting USDA's Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion website at
The United States
Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in its programs
on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, disability,
political beliefs, and marital or familial status. (Not all prohibited
bases apply to all programs.) Persons with disabilities who require alternative
means for communication of program information (Braille, large print,
audiotape, etc.) should contact the USDA Office of Communications at 202-720-2791.
To file a complaint,
write the Secretary of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington,
DC 20250, or call 202-720-7327 (voice) or 202-720-1127 (TDD). USDA is
an equal opportunity employer.