What is a Serving of Fruits and Vegetables?

fruits cupIdeally, we should be eating five to nine servings of fruit and vegetables everyday. However, how do we know what a serving size is? Is a whole apple counted as one serving, or a quarter slice would do? Would five whole carrots equal to five serving?

Measuring a serving size

A serving size of fruit or vegetables is equivalent to about one-half cup. Greens such as lettuce and spinach have a serving size equal to one full cup, while a slice of fruit is equivalent to one-half cup.

However, a single piece of small fruit such as an apple or orange is also counted as a single serving. This was formulated by the United States Department of Agriculture based on the portion sizes that people typically eat, as well as the ease of use and nutritional content of fruits and vegetables.

Examples of a single serving of fruit include: a single banana, six strawberries, two plums, fifteen grapes, and one-half cup of fruit juice. For vegetables, a single serving constitutes either of the following: five broccoli florets, ten baby carrots, a single roma tomato, 3/4 cup tomato juice, half of a baked sweet potato, an ear of corn, or four slices of an onion.

How much should we eat?

The recommended serving sizes of fruit and vegetables are actually a total amount. For older or inactive women and smaller children, at least three servings of veggies and two servings of fruit.

Meanwhile, people with active lifestyles such as growing kids, teenage girls, and active women should take at least four servings of vegetables and three servings of fruit a day. Those who are the most active like teenage boys and men should eat at least five servings of vegetables and four servings of fruit.