The US government in its food guidelines recommends between five and nine servings of vegetables and fruits should be eaten by Americans every day. This seems to be a lot but it is actually much easier to fit that much servings into one's daily diet. Considering that fruits and vegetables are some of the least expensive yet most nutritious foods in the grocery stores and supermarkets, it would not be that difficult to make the decision to invest in these foods and make them a regular part of your daily food budget.
First we need to understand what a serving actually means. The recommended five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables actually equate to about two and a half cups of vegetables and about two cups of fruits every day. That doesn't seem to be a very difficult goal to reach, does it?
To further maximize the benefits that one may derive from these fruits and vegetables in terms of the nutrients one gets from them, it is also advised that one picks a variety of vegetables and fruits. Choosing a combination of fruits and vegetables in different colors, shape, size, and texture will ensure that you get a good mix and as varied a diet as possible. The rationale behind this is quite simple. Since different colors represent different types of nutrients, choosing a good mix of colors for your choice of fruits and vegetables will increase the chances that you get all the vitamins and minerals you need each day.
Varying your recipes will also help in meeting those five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables every day. As you try out new recipes, you get to eat all of those fruits and vegetables without getting tired of having the same meal each day. This will also give you the opportunity to try out new fruits by trying out other fruits as substitutes for standard ingredients in your recipes. For example, instead of oranges, why not try substituting kiwi fruit or mango instead? For vegetables, you may want to try replacing spinach in a standard recipe with kale, chopped broccoli, or even dark romaine lettuce.
Of course one may argue that it would be a lot easier and less costly to meet those daily recommended amount of nutrients by taking vitamin or other types of supplements. There are pros and cons to this line of thinking. While it may be true that it can prove to be less costly, food supplements are highly specialized, that is, they are meant to supply only specific nutrients contained in them. In fruits and vegetables, there are hundreds of other elements contained because there are far more micronutrients in these fruits and vegetables than those that are synthesized in vitamin pills. On the other hand, there are also some health products that have been processed in such a way that they are packed with much more nutrients and in much highly potent form than what may be obtained from vegetables and fruits.
For extreme health requirements where a megadose of nutrients are required to combat specific ailments, some health products may prove to be more efficient in providing the much needed remedy. But for general health and wellness, it may simply suffice that meeting the recommended daily amount of nutrients may be attained by making sure that your daily diet is complete with generous amounts of fruits and vegetables.
1. Romaine Lettuce - - a substitute for spinach in a pinch?, http://www.justapinch.com/groups/discuss/47028/romaine-lettuce-a-substitute-for-spinach-in-a-pinch
2. Replacement for spinach?, https://www.paleohacks.com/paleo-diet/replacement-for-spinach-3962
3. Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010, http://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/dga2010/DietaryGuidelines2010.pdf
4. Fruit and Veggie Color List, http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/fruit-and-veggie-color-list