Tuesday, November 15, 2011

DAY 319 -- Servings of fruit and vegetables.

I find dietary guidelines confusing.  Some guidelines suggest five servings of fruits and vegetables a day.  If I eat five servings of fruit, am I done for the day... no need for veggies? And what amount counts as a serving?

Out of curiosity, I looked up the dietary exchange listed for the Mayo Clinic .  Their list shows a serving size for an apple is 1 apple... but then it clarifies that with "small (2 inches across)" and should be  4 ounces.  We have what I would consider small apples, so I weighed them. Each one weighed over 7 ounces.  So if I eat one of our apples, I'm actually getting nearly two servings of fruit.

A serving of banana is 1 "extra small" (4 oz, including the peel).  I weighed our only remaining banana.  (Note to self: get bananas.) It's 5.5 ounces, and it's a lot smaller than the ones we usually purchase.

The list shows 1/2 pear is a serving.  So if I eat the whole pear, I'm getting two servings.

Why am I posting about this?  I don't know.  

Personally, I don't weigh and measure food, or worry about portions.  I guess I had this on my mind because I overheard someone say it is difficult to get 5 servings of fruit and veggies into a day.  But looking at the recommended serving sizes, if I eat one apple, one pear, and one banana, I've already eaten approximately 5 servings of fruit, and haven't even counted any servings of vegetables yet. 

Which brings me back to the question... if I've eaten 5 servings of fruit, do I forgo vegetables for the day?  Of course not.  When I read Food Matters (by Mark Bittman) he said that as long as our diet does not consist of junk food, then we will get the nutrition we need.  I like that.

I try to eat balanced, and include a variety of foods from a variety of food groups.  I wondered why the government feels the need to give guidelines and recommendations to get people caught up in how many servings of what... why not just let people use common sense?  But then I remembered yesterday's post about Dumb Diets and realized that some people are a few senses short of common.


  1. I don't find it hard to get 5 fruits/veggies in my diet any longer. Recently my husband seemed surprised that I take a whole cucumber and a whole red pepper in my lunch box every day. Those are for my afternoon snack. If I add a banana for breakfast and eat a salad for lunch, I'm almost there.

    It really is about shifting my mindset about my diet and I appreciate you pointing out the portion sizes. Broccoli is my favorite dinner veggie ~ it's filling and so, so, SO good for you!!

  2. Susan... you are right, broccoli is so healthy! I need to eat more of it. I used to put it on salads, but my husband doesn't care for it raw. For some reason I rarely think of steaming some broccoli for supper. I'm going to put that on my grocery list right now.