New Year's is the time for goal-setting and (hopefully) goal-reaching for the lucky, gritty, few to stick with their personal goals.
That's because most of us make goals - especially nutrition-related ones - that can be nearly impossible to achieve. Most of the time, they are simply too big, too far-reaching to accomplish without some major lifestyle overhauling.
I'm here to announce the absolute best nutrition goal you will ever make. In your entire lifetime.
This is a goal that will help you prevent certain cancer, chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and decreases your likelihood of ever having a stroke.
If this goal sounds pretty powerful, you're reading this correctly.
If you want better regularity with digestion, clearer skin, more energy, and - last but not least - even a longer life, you'll want to ensure that you set this nutrition goal, and stick with it.
So without further ado, the best nutrition goal you can make is as follows.
Get 5 servings of Vegetables and Fruits Every Day.
Get 5 servings of vegetables and fruits every day. You may have heard this before (thanks, mom). Sounds simple right? But stop, think back on today or yesterday. Can you count back, ponder, if you actually ate 5 servings of fruits and veggies? Can you name each individual food? If you ate a large salad, it may count as 2 servings. Did you get 3 more?
So what counts as a serving of vegetable or fruit? Glad you asked. Though this is by no means a comprehensive list, it will get you started on your way to 5 servings of fruits and vegetables every day.
How to Get 5 servings of Vegetables and Fruits Every Day.
As a general rule, 1 cup of fruit or 100% fruit juice, or ½ cup of dried fruit can be considered as 1 cup from the Fruit Group. However, most dietitians and nutritionists will likely discourage you from drinking too much fruit juice, due to its high sugar content.
What Counts for a Single Fruit Serving
Apple ½ large (3 ¼" diameter)
1 small (2 ¼" diameter)
1 cup, sliced or chopped, raw or cooked
Applesauce 1 cup
Banana 1 cup, sliced
1 large (8" to 9" long)
Cantaloupe 1 cup, diced or melon balls
Grapes 1 cup, whole or halved
32 seedless small grapes
Grapefruit 1 medium (4" diameter)
1 cup, sections
Mixed fruit 1 cup, diced or sliced, raw or canned, drained
Orange 1 large (3 1/16" diameter)
1 cup, sections
Peach 1 large (2 ¾" diameter)
1 cup, sliced or diced, raw, cooked, or canned, drained
2 halves, canned
Pear 1 medium pear (2 ½ per lb)
1 cup, sliced or diced, raw cooked, or canned, drained
Pineapple 1 cup, chunks, sliced or crushed, raw, cooked or canned, drained
Plum 1 cup, sliced raw or cooked
3 medium or 2 large plums
Strawberries About 8 large berries
1 cup, whole, halved, or sliced, fresh or frozen
Watermelon 1 small (1" thick)
1 cup, diced or balls
Dried fruit (raisins, prunes, apricots, etc.) ½ cup dried fruit
What counts for 1 Vegetable Serving
Generally speaking, 1 cup of raw or cooked vegetables or vegetable juice, or 2 cups of raw leafy greens can be considered as 1 serving from the vegetable group. Try and add one serving from each of the color groups for your best health.
DARK GREEN VEGETABLES
Broccoli 1 cup, chopped or florets 3 spears 5" long raw or cooked
Greens (collards, mustard greens, turnip greens, kale) 1 cup, cooked
Spinach 1 cup, cooked
2 cups, raw
Leafy greens: Romaine, watercress, dark green leafy lettuce, endive, escarole 2 cups, raw
RED AND ORANGE VEGETABLES
Carrots 1 cup baby carrots (about 12) or 2 medium sized carrots
Pumpkin 1 cup, mashed, cooked
Red peppers 1 cup, chopped, raw, or cooked
1 large pepper (3" diameter, 3 3/4" long)
Tomatoes 1 large raw whole (3")
1 cup, chopped or sliced, raw, canned, or cooked
Tomato juice 1 cup
Sweet potato 1 large baked (2 ¼" or more diameter)
1 cup, sliced or mashed, cooked
Winter squash 1 cup, cubed, cooked
(acorn, butternut, hubbard)
Dry beans and peas 1 cup, whole or mashed, cooked
(such as black, garbanzo, kidney, pinto, or soy beans, or black-eyed peas or split peas) .
Corn, yellow or white 1 large ear (8") or 1 cup kernels
Green peas 1 cup
White potatoes 1 cup, diced, mashed
1 medium boiled or baked potato (2 ½" to 3" diameter)
Bean sprouts 1 cup, chopped or shredded raw or cooked
Cabbage, green 1 cup, pieces or florets raw or cooked
Cauliflower 1 cup, diced or sliced, raw or cooked
Celery 2 large stalks (11" to 12" long)
Cucumbers 1 cup, raw, sliced or chopped
Green or wax beans 1 cup, cooked
Green, red, yellow bell pepper 1 cup, chopped, raw or cooked
1 large pepper (3" diameter, 3 ¾" long)
Lettuce, iceberg or head 2 cups, raw, shredded or chopped
Mushrooms 1 cup, raw or cooked
Onions 1 cup, chopped, raw or cooked
Summer squash or zucchini 1 cup, cooked, sliced or diced
Happy Fruiting! Happy Vegging, too!