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Eating a Diet Rich in Fruits and Vegetables

Here's Why:

Fruits and vegetables are superstar foods. They have lots of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and other natural compounds the body needs. They are also low in calories and fat. All of this can help your health by lowering your:

Here's How:

How much produce you need is based on your age, sex, and how much you move. In general, adults should eat this much every day:

Try to fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables. Visit the http://www.choosemyplate.gov website for more tips.

Focus on color when eating fruits and vegetables. Dark green, red, and orange vegetables are packed with good-for-you nutrients. Include fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin A or beta-carotene such as:

Also include vitamin C rich foods such as:

Tips for Adding Fruits and Vegetables to Your Diet

For breakfast:

  • Mix fresh or dried fruit with cereal or oatmeal
  • Top a bagel or English muffin with whole fruit jam, onion and tomato, or cucumber and cream cheese
  • Try a glass of tomato juice with a celery stick

For lunch and snacks:

  • Bake a sweet potato and top with black beans
  • Stir fresh fruit into yogurt
  • Eat a can of mandarin oranges
  • Dip carrot, celery, red pepper, and zucchini sticks into hummus, yogurt, or low-fat dip

For dinner:

  • Roast vegetables—onion, squash, peppers, and eggplant—and spread on a pizza crust with tomato sauce and cheese
  • Top baked potatoes with steamed broccoli, beans, and salsa
  • Add dried fruit to rice and stuffing
  • Grate carrots and zucchini into pasta sauce

For dessert:

  • Eat fresh cut-up fruit
  • Top frozen yogurt with sauteed apples, fresh peaches, or canned pineapple

Smoothies are great for a fast, healthy breakfast, snack, or dessert. Try them with fruit, yogurt, juice, proteins, and/or vegetables. Use a blender that can crush ice and frozen fruit to make them even easier.

No Short Cuts

It may seem easier to take a vitamin pill instead of trying to eat more produce. Research shows that it is better to get your nutrients from food. Fruits and vegetables also have hundreds of natural compounds that you cannot get from a supplement. They taste a lot better, too!


Choose My Plate—Department of Agriculture

Eat Right—Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics


Dietitians of Canada

Health Canada Food and Nutrition


Dietary guidelines for Americans 2010. Department of Agriculture and Department of Health and Human Services. Available at: http://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/dga2010/DietaryGuidelines2010.pdf. Accessed November 9, 2020.

Food groups: Fruits. Department of Agriculture Choose My Plate website. Available at: http://www.choosemyplate.gov/fruit. Accessed November 9, 2020.

Food groups: Vegetables. Department of Agriculture Choose My Plate website. Available at: http://www.choosemyplate.gov/vegetables. Accessed November 9, 2020.

Jiang R, Jacobs DR Jr, Mayer-Davis E, et al. Nut and seed consumption and inflammatory markers in the multi-ethnic study of atherosclerosis. Am J Epidemiol. 2006;163(3):222-231.

Liven up your meals with fruits and vegetables. Department of Agriculture Choose My Plate website. Available at: http://www.choosemyplate.gov/sites/default/files/tentips/DGTipsheet10LivenUpYourMeals.pdf. Accessed November 9, 2020.

Last reviewed November 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review Board