Are you eating enough fruits and veggies?

kapolei 18Turns out, Mom was right. You should be eating your fruits and veggies.

They’re incredibly good for you — packed with nutrients that our bodies use to maintain good health and energy levels. They protect against the effects of aging, and reduce the risk of some cancers and heart disease.

But not surprisingly, most of us aren’t eating enough fruits and veggies. In fact, about 7 in 10 Americans aren’t getting the recommended 2 1/2 cups of fruits and vegetables a day.

That raises the question, is juice an acceptable alternative?

Drinking your fruits and veggies can be a good alternative, especially when you’re on the run. But check the food label to make sure what you’re drinking is 100 percent juice, and that it doesn’t have any added sodium (salt) or sugar.

Also, know that a half-cup portion (4 ounces) is equal to one serving of fruit.

The bottom line: One or two servings of 100% juice (4 to 8 ounces) a day is OK, but it’s best to eat the rest to meet your daily recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables.

What kind of fruits and veggies should you be eating?

Keep it colorful — eat a rainbow!

Fruits and vegetables come in so many colors and flavors, especially during the summer months. Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables to get a wide range of nutrients in your diet. All forms of fruits and vegetables count — fresh, frozen, canned, dried, and 100 percent juice.

Choose whole foods — foods in their natural, unprocessed form — when possible. For example, eat an apple rather than eating apple sauce or apple juice. And be on the look out for “fruit flavored” products that have little to no actual fruit in them.

Need more help figuring out what kinds of fruits and veggies to eat? Check out this great resource:

Keeping it Colorful

juliezeeJulia Zee, MPH, RDN, is an extension educator in Nutrition and Health for the University of Hawaii’s Cooperative Extension Service. One of the projects she works on — the Nutrition Education for Wellness Program — offers programs and training statewide in consumer foods and nutrition education. NEW promotes healthy food choices, skills building, and access to a healthy diet.


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