The 5 to 9

Since I’m a vegetarian, one would assume that I eat my fair share of fruits and vegetables. For the most part, I consider my diet to be healthy and well rounded, but I’m pretty sure that I still miss the mark when it comes to the daily-recommended value of fruits and veggies. My Pyramid, brought to you by the United States Department of Agriculture, and revamped from the traditional food pyramid that we saw in school as children, says that I should be consuming 3 cups of vegetables and 2 cups of fruit daily (the older version preached 5 to 9 servings, hence the name of this month, in reference of course to Dolly Parton’s 9 to 5). What’s kind of cool is that the servings are personalized, based on your age, gender, height, weight and activity level. You can go onto the website, and enter your information to find out your own recommendations.

In addition to outlining my own personalized daily recommendations, they also gave me a weekly goal: 3 cups of dark green vegetables, 2 cups of orange vegetables, 3 cups of dry beans and peas, 6 cups of starchy vegetables, and 7 cups of other vegetables. I like thinking of it in terms of weekly rather than daily, because let’s face it, some days I’m going to be under and hopefully some days I’ll be over. So, I’m making myself a nice little star chart and tallying up my score each week. Maybe I’ll buy myself the kale necklace from last post if I manage to meet my goals for the whole month.

What’s always been a little bit confusing is what constitutes as a serving. Here are a few examples, but check out this website for a much longer list.

What is a serving of vegetables?
-1 cup of raw, leafy vegetables
-1/2 cup of other vegetables, cooked or raw
-3/4 cup of vegetable juice
-5 broccoli florets, 10 baby carrots, 4 slices of onion

What is a serving of fruit?
-1 apple, banana, orange, or pear
-1/2 cup of chopped, cooked or canned fruit
-3/4 cup of fruit juice
-1/4 cup of dried fruit
-6 strawberries, 15 grapes

So, that’s my August challenge. I’ll post a photo of my star chart at the end of this week and any interesting findings as they come.

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