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The number five made out of fruits and vegetables

Fruits & Veggies—More Matters!

The USDA recommends eating 5 – 9 servings of fruits and veggies per day. That might sound like a lot, but it’s easy if you follow MyPlate’s tips:

  • Eat the rainbow! Make sure at least half of your plate is full of fruits and veggies. 
  • Choose fruits and veggies as quick snacks. 
  • Try something new. You can find fresh choices at a farm stand or farmers market. 
  • Vary your veggies. Fresh or frozen? Cooked or raw? Red, orange, or green? Picking different options will keep meals interesting! 
  • You can cook frozen or fresh vegetables in the microwave for a quick side dish. 
  • Opt for whole fruits more than fruit juice. Fresh, frozen, canned, dried, and pureed all count! 
  • Add fruit to your cereal or yogurt at breakfast.

Why are fruits and veggies important to eat?

  • Low in calories—naturally!
  • May reduce disease risk, including heart disease, high blood pressure, and some cancers.
  • Rich in vitamins and minerals that help you feel healthy and energized.

Click on each nutrient to see a list of fruits & veggies that are “high” and “good” sources. Remember—beans and peas count as a vegetable, too!

  • Calcium: Calcium is essential for healthy bones and teeth. It is also needed for normal functioning of muscles, nerves, and some glands.
  • Fiber: Diets rich in dietary fiber have been shown to have a number of beneficial effects, including decreased risk of coronary heart disease.
  • Folate: Healthful diets with adequate folate may reduce a woman’s risk of having a child with a brain or spinal cord defect.
  • Iron: Needed for healthy blood and normal functioning of all cells.
  • Magnesium: Magnesium is necessary for healthy bones and is involved with more than 300 enzymes in your body! Low levels may result in muscle cramps and high blood pressure.
  • Potassium: Diets rich in potassium may help to maintain a healthy blood pressure.
  • Vitamin A: Keeps eyes and skin healthy and helps protect against infections.
  • Vitamin C: Helps heal cuts and wounds and keeps teeth and gums healthy.

What fruits and veggies are in season right now?

Choosing fruits and vegetables in season is a great way to stretch your food dollars. Learn more about seasonal fruits and vegetables:

Unsure how to cut up or use that fruit and vegetable you just bought?

Go to CookSmarts and watch videos that show you how to cut up and prepare most fruits and vegetables!

And remember 2 things…

1.) Fill half your plate with fruits & veggies at every meal and be sure to include healthy snacks when you get the munchies. For a fun way to teach kids (and coworkers) about healthy snacks—check out the Munch Code!

2.) All forms—fresh, frozen, canned, dried and 100% juice—count toward your daily intake.

Sources:  SD Harvest of the Month, CookSmarts, and South Dakota Department of Health Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey (BRFSS)