The power of fruits and veggies is real — they can make a big impact on your physical and mental health when added to your roster of meals and snacks.
From cutting out excess calories in recipes and filling you up with water, fiber and starch while offering antioxidant-acting plant compounds like vitamins A and C and polyphenols that may help improve your mood, vegetables and fruit are nutrient-rich powerhouses. Yet, they remain the underdogs when it comes to what Americans are eating.
According to the Produce for Better Health Foundation’s 2020 State of the Plate Report, the average U.S. adult eats vegetables just 7.5 times per week and fruit 5.8 per week. Whereas the 2020-2025 USDA Dietary Guidelines recommend an adult following a 2,000 calorie meal plan aim for 2 ½ cups vegetables and 2 cups fruit each day (or 17.5 cups vegetables and 14 cups fruit per week).
In honor of National Nutrition Month™, we’re recruiting YOU for Team Plant to bring these underdogs to the Final Four eating occasions you have each day. Need a little inspiration for matching fruits and veggies with your favorite recipes? Check out these plant-packed “Terrific Ten” top seeds as inspired by the 2020-2025 USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans:
Fruits (2 cups/day)1
Fresh: Apple, Naval Orange, Banana, Kiwi, Grapes
Frozen: Cranberries, Mango, Pineapple, Blueberries
Canned: Peaches, Mandarin Oranges, Pears
Dried: Raisins, Plums, Apricots, Figs
Juice: 100% orange juice, shelf-stable 100% apple juice, shelf-stable 100% juice blend
Vegetables (2 ½ cups/day)1
Dark-Green: (1 ½ cups/week): Baby Spinach, Kale, Broccoli, Escarole, Collard Greens
Red/Orange: (5 ½ cups/week): Tomatoes, Red Peppers, Beets, 100% Tomato Juice, Carrots, Pumpkin, Butternut Squash, Sweet Potato
Dried Beans, Peas and Lentils: (1 ½ cups/week): Dry and/or Canned Black, Garbanzo, Kidney, Pinto, Lentils, Split Peas, Black-Eyed Peas
Starchy Vegetables (5 cups/week): Corn, White Potatoes, Peas
Other Vegetables (4 cups/week): Avocado, Green Beans, Cabbage, Green Peppers, Lettuce, Cauliflower, Mushrooms, Celery, Onions, Zucchini, Summer Squash, Cucumber