Project Veg-Up Challenge

While I have many fun challenge ideas for you guys, with summer right around the corner, I figured what better challenge to do for June than one related to all the amazing produce on the shelves and in the farmer’s markets. Like my other challenges, I want to keep this one simple – shoot to eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables every day.

The Project Veg-Up Concept

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The American Dietetic Association recommends consuming at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables every day.

My fave nutrition resource, Ellie Krieger, recommends eating 2-4 servings of fruit and 3-6 servings of vegetables (more exact numbers dependent on calorie ranges).

While a lot of us eat more than enough fruits and veggies, there are many, myself included, who sometimes struggle with getting enough produce in our diet. This challenge will encourage you to consume more fruits and vegetables every day.

How to Play

Goal: Try to eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables every day for the month of June. (Really you should be doing this every day, but you know what I mean. ;) )

Rules:

  • General: In the interest of keeping this challenge simple, I say make the rules as detailed or as loose as you want – whatever it takes to get you eating fruits and veggies.
  • What’s a serving?: This is up to you. At it’s simplest, you can just say, did I eat some broccoli? Yes. There’s a serving. I’ll be posting details about actual servings sizes over the month, but just play it by ear. If you want to measure your servings, go for it. If you want to be more lax, then just eye ball your servings.
  • How many servings should I eat? For the purposes of this challenge, we’re saying just eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables. Actual serving amounts depend on many things: age, sex, activity level, target calorie consumption, etc. There are many calculators online that will tell you how many you should eat (check out the Free Tools section for one). Ellie Krieger basically says that you can’t hardly eat too many vegetables, but you should limit fruit servings to no more than 4. Check out her book Small Changes, Big Results for more information.
  • Have fun: This challenge is meant to be a positive, supportive, and encouraging way to eat more fruits and vegetables. Have fun with it! Connect with other challenge participants. Use hashtag #projectvegup on twitter to tweet about your veg/fruit intake status or share useful recipes and articles with other challenge participants. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Enjoy learning about new recipes and ways to eat your fruits and vegetables and connecting with others.

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Tips

I’ll be sharing tips in many ways:

  • Blog posts – I’ll post my personal tips, my wins and losses, lessons learned, recipes, etc. Click here to get free updates.
  • Email newsletter – I’ll share daily tips, offer encouragement, address issue areas (see next list), and send out easy recipe ideas (email thechiclife at gmail dot com with subject=”Project Veg-Up Challenge Newsletter” and I’ll get you added)
  • Facebook – I’ll post updates on how I’m doing along with useful links. Be sure to check the Discussion Boards for recipes shared with each other and other support
  • Twitter – I’ll be tweeting updates on how I’m doing with the challenge, recipe links, useful articles, etc.
  • Note: There will be some crossover between information in the various locations, but check each one so you don’t miss anything. ;)

Your Challenge Areas

I’d also like to hear what types of problems you run into when it comes to consuming fruits and veggies. Here are some issue areas I’ve heard so far:

  • I buy fruits and vegetables, but I put them in the refrigerator, forget about them, and they go bad.
  • Since it’s summer and HOT, I find it hard to actually want to eat veggies because all I want is cold fruit! Other than putting spinach in my green monster smoothies, I can’t think of any other ways to cool myself down AND get my veggies in.
  • I already have a lot to do in the morning to get ready for work and don’t have time to prep fruits/vegetables to take to work.
  • Fruits and vegetables can be expensive.
  • Fruits are messy to eat.
  • Sometimes it seems quicker and cheaper to go for packaged and frozen items.
  • Um, eating my strawberries WITHOUT heaps of Nutella. ;)
  • Eating raw veggies is hard on my IBS so I can’t eat veggies until I cook them at home in the evening.
  • Do you have a challenge with eating fruits and vegetables that you’d like to share? Please leave a comment. :)

I’ll be addressing your challenge areas via blog posts, Facebook, twitter, email newsletters, etc.

Free Tools

Serving calculator: The CDC has a neat calculator that tells you how many cups of fruits and vegetables you should eat based on your age, sex, and activity level. Click here to go to the calculator (note: 1 “cup” doesn’t necessarily equal 1 “serving”)

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Calendar Tracker: I’ve created a calendar you can print out and keep with you to track your progress. Since Ellie Krieger recommends 2-4 servings of fruits and 3-6 of vegetables, I just put circles to represent the minimum numbers for each group (feel free to draw more circles to fit your goal servings if you want). Print out this calendar and check off the circles as you get your servings in for the day. It will feel so rewarding! Just like checking something off your to-do list!! ;)

Click here to download the Project Veg-Up Calendar

The Badge

I’m working on the badge. Work has been crazy, so I’m hoping to get one created this weekend. I’ll let you know via the tip methods listed in the previous section.

The Players

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Are you playing along in the Project Veg-Up Challenge? If so, leave me a comment, whether you’re playing for the whole month, a couple weeks, a single week, a couple days, etc. and your URL if you have a blog.

  • Me
  • You?

Questions? Leave me a comment on my blog or Facebook wall/discussion boards, mention me on twitter, and I’ll answer you there. :)

Who’s In? It’s never too late to join! If June is halfway over and you just found out about the challenge, feel free to join in on the festivities! Better late than never! :)

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Comments

  1. Megan says

    I want to play! fo sho. I would like to request that you take me on my very first trip to the farmers market as part of your community outreach for this challenge. lol. I can’t go saturdays :( but is it open sundays? PLEEEEEEEASE?!?!

  2. says

    I love this challenge! I think I eat more than 5 servings of fruit and veg every day, but it will be interesting to see. I know for a fact that I have the same problem as you though–I put produce in my fridge and forget about it and it’s gross by the time I remember! So here is my new tip for that which works really well: I take everything out of the bags and packages (except things like spinach of course), and I place it all on the fridge shelves so that I can SEE everything. Then I open the fridge, see the beautiful pepper, and want to eat it! Out of sight out of mind, so I make everything be in sight these days! :)

  3. says

    I’m definitely in! I need to be mindful of how much I’m buying at the market so I don’t waste anything (or at least not much). Plus I’m looking forward to some new prep ideas so that I can get the picky husband to try new-to-him veg like chard and kale.

    Started out the day with spinach from the garden in my omelet and a kiwi on the side. Looking forward to a big salad for lunch!

  4. Stephanie says

    Got all the ladies in my office on board! We make smoothies in the morning, so we should be able to cross those off fruits off the list soon!

  5. says

    Sounds like a plan! I’m a veg but I’ve been reaching for more carbs because I’m right in the middle of a move. I need a reminder sometimes as well!

  6. says

    AHHH I LOVE THIS! I am *totally* in!!!! This’ll be so much fun! I just bought my first watermelon this past weekend (hellloooo summer!)…. but i’ve been so dang busy i haven’t had time to crack it open yet! I’ll be doing that …like… NOW!

  7. says

    I need to join this!

    Here’s my challenge: I LOVE LOVE LOVE fruit and veggies, and typically ate more than the required servings each day. Then…I got pregnant and had no desire to eat any of it. I just couldn’t stomach it. Now I am halfway through my pregnancy and need to get back on track.

    I started by planting my garden (I do square foot gardening like you) so I’m waiting for some veggies to be ready to harvest! So far my husband and I have had several salads with garden lettuce and spinach. Now I’m waiting on my tomatoes, zucchini and peppers!

    • says

      Sounds like you have a tough challenge, but I love that you planted a garden to get back into the swing of things. Nice job! Hopefully you’ll have some garden-fresh goodies soon! :)

  8. says

    I definitely eat more than enough vegetables and fruits throughout the day. I don’t know what I’d eat to feel full if I didn’t have fruit/veg fiber in my belly! But this is such a great way to be more aware of just how much or how little fruits and veggies you’re eating.

    I’m definitely in :)

  9. says

    I’m in! :) I try to eat a lot of fruit and veggies anyway but it never hurts to actually monitor it. By biggest issue lately is that most of the greens I’m getting in my CSA box are best eaten cooked, but I don’t really feel like cooking. I feel like throwing salads together and eating cool sandwiches and wraps filled with raw veggies.

  10. Julie S. says

    I’m in on the challenge! Of course I know I should be getting more fruit and veggies in my diet but it doesn’t always happen. Thanks for providing the motivation I need to make healthier choices. I like the idea of the tracker too and will definately use it. If I can do the month of June, I know I can make this a part of my life permanently!

  11. says

    I definitely need to be better about this. It’s scary, but a lot of days I eat maybe 2-3 servings only. Oh, and strawberries with Nutella sounds excellent.

  12. says

    Wow, I’m in! This is a great idea. Eating 5 servings of fruit & veg was actually my new years resolution this year but I’ve fallen off the wagon a bit so this will be the perfect way to get back on track!

  13. says

    I’ve been playing for the past couple days and it’s definitely harder than I expected! Fruits are really easy for me but I tend to come in right around 2 servings of veggies every day. I imagine it’ll get easier ;)

  14. says

    I’d love to play! I get my fruit in pretty easily with smoothies, but I struggle sometimes with veggies. My solution is usually to prep my veggies immediately after I buy them– chopping up carrots, celery, broccoli for on the go snacks, getting everything else washed and portioned, etc. That way it’s easy to grab and I’m more motivated since the effort reminds me that its in there so I don’t forget!
    My biggest challenge is being afraid to experiment! I have so much I’d love to try but I don’t want to spend the money on something I won’t like. Maybe I’ll add a personal challenge to try one new veggie a week :)

  15. says

    I am so inspired by your blog! I just discovered it today, and I have been reading a lot of your posts. I will definitely be a regular reader!
    Like you, I have no problem fitting fruits into my diet, and I probably often go overboard on them. I have more trouble with the veggies. I will be participating with you on this challenge to try to get my servings and portion sizes right! Thank you for sharing!

    • says

      Hi Nicole! I’m so glad you found me! Welcome to TCL! :) What challenges do you have with eating vegetables? Is it having them at work, or needing recipes for dinner? Do tell! And thanks for playing in the challenge!

  16. Rags says

    Found your site while looking for spring and summer vegetable recipes. Have lost 80 lbs. since middle of last Dec. by mainly incorporating more vegetables and fruit in my diet and shunning fast food. I’m a (was) big guy who’s blood pressure was out of control. My favorite warm weather recipe is whole wheat pasta salad with lots of chopped fresh vegetables and pesto or red pepper pesto sauce. Keep up the good work. With vegetables, you never have to starve yourself.

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