Most people should eat between 2 ½ to 6 ½ cups of fruits and vegetables each day, depending on age, gender, and activity level.  

Many of us, however, don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables.  

Eating fruits and vegetables is one of the most positive health habits that adults, youth, and children can adopt.  Virtually all national health organizations emphasize the people who eat a colorful variety of vegetables and fruits as part of a healthy diet are likely to experience many different health benefits.  

People who eat more fruits and vegetables have a reduced risk of chronic diseases, including stroke, diabetes, and some types of cancer.  

Research also suggests that fruits and vegetables may help in preventing and treating heart disease and high blood pressure.  Replacing fruits and vegetables for high-fat foods may also make it easier to control weight.

Try these tips to enjoy more fruits and vegetables:

• Buy and prepare more fruits and vegetables.  

Keep canned and frozen fruits and vegetables on hand.  

Buy fresh produce in season, or grow your own, if it’s possible.

• Eat a variety of fruits — fresh, frozen and canned — rather than drinking juice.

• Keep a bowl of fruit on the counter for an easy-to-grab snack.

• Keep baby carrots or other ready-to-eat vegetables on hand.

• Add corn, carrots, peas, sweet potatoes or beans to soups and stews.

• Top sandwiches with lettuce, tomato, and other vegetables.

• Stir fry, experimenting with different vegetables, or use what you have on hand.

• Make fruit smoothies for a quick breakfast snack.  

By using the recipe below, you will get more nutrition and save $2-2.50 per smoothie.

So, consuming 2 ½ to 6 ½ cups of fruits and vegetables a day can help you decrease foods with added sugars, which have a lot of calories but few nutrients.

STRAWBERRY SMOOTHIE

1 cup unsweetened frozen or fresh strawberries

½ cup 100% orange juice

½ cup low-fat vanilla yogurt (Greek yogurt will make a thicker drink)

3 ice cubes

Place all ingredients into a blender.  Blend until thick and smooth.  For leftovers, cover and refrigerate or freeze within 2 hours.  

YIELD: 1 serving

Nutrition Facts

Each serving provides:    230 calories (depending on ingredients)

2 grams fat

49 grams carbohydrate

6 grams protein

10 milligrams cholesterol

80 milligrams sodium

4 grams dietary fiber

Rita Hodges is the Ellis  County Extension Agent-Family & Consumer Sciences. Contact Rita at 972-825-5175 or rmhodges@ag.tamu.edu

Extension programs serve people of all ages regardless of socioeconomic level, race, color, sex, religion, disability or national origin.  The Texas A & M University System, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the County Commissioners Courts of Texas Cooperating.