PVU: Fruit and Vegetable Serving Sizes

As my beach vacay was coming to a close and we headed home, I was really looking forward to two things specifically:

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Hubby and Bailey!

The comfort of my own bed wasn’t too shabby either. ;)

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I got a couple surprise extras, though, thanks to sweet hubby – flowers!

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And a local doughnut! Actually, it’s a “honey bun”, but it’s pretty much a doughnut. What a sweet “welcome home”!

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Hubby also whipped up a fantastic grilled dinner – grass-fed filet, asparagus, and potatoes. I can’t get enough of those grilled potatoes, for realz! They are so tasty! I’m currently brainstorming ways to create a grilled potato salad. Doesn’t that sound drool-worthy?

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Fruit and Vegetable Servings Sizes

As I mentioned for Project Veg-Up (my challenge for you to eat 5 servings of fruits and vegetables every day in June), you make the rules. If you want to measure your servings, go ahead. If you’re like me and prefer to eye-ball and estimate, that works, too. And if you just want to say “I ate some broccoli – there’s 1 serving”, that’s cool, too. Your game – your rules. ;)

However, if you’re going to estimate or even guess-timate your serving sizes, it may be good for you to know what actual serving sizes are. In fact, you may wish to measure out a couple servings till you get a handle on what the sizes truly are (up to you, though!).

For all things food and health related, I turn to my favorite RD – Ellie Krieger. If you haven’t seen her book, Small Changes, Big Results, you should totally check it out. The book has a wealth of knowledge, including tips, recipes and perhaps one of my favorite things – a factoid-filled appendix. Take a look at the book next time you’re at the book store.

In the interest of keeping things easy, what you basically need to know is that you should shoot for the following for one serving (according to the USDA):

  • Vegetables: 1/2 cup of vegetables or 1 cup of raw leafy greens (Ellie says eat as many as you want)
  • Fruits: 1/2 cup of fruit or about 1 medium-sized fruit (Ellie says limit this to no more than 4 servings per day)

Ellie compares these portions to a baseball, saying that 1 medium fruit is the size of a baseball and 1/2 cup of fruits/vegetables is 1/2 of a baseball. She also considers fruit and vegetable juices as servings, but I’m shooting to get mine from full versions. Additionally, she actually has different suggestions in her book for serving sizes for some particular fruits, like 1 cup or chopped canteloupe = 1 fruit serving. Click here for a snippet of her book with more info on her take on serving sizes, how you almost can’t eat too many servings of vegetables, as well as why you shouldn’t eat more than 4 fruit servings.

Check out this site (click) for some other useful fruit/vegetable portion ideas. My favorites, that I most commonly consume, are:

  • 10 baby carrots
  • 1 banana (however Ellie says 1/2 a banana is a fruit serving, though I’m guessing it depends on the size of the fruit)
  • 5 broccoli florets
  • 1 apple

If you’re searching for additional information on serving sizes, you may notice that they vary a bit. Just go with whatever works best for you and follow whichever sources you trust most. :)

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It’s not too late to join in on the challenge! Click here to read more about Project Veg-Up and join in on the fun.

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What do you think? Do you measure your fruit and vegetable servings or do you estimate them? Do you have any tips or tricks on measuring or estimating fruit/vegetable serving sizes?

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Comments

  1. says

    I don’t measure my veggies b/c I almost always eat more than an actual serving (good thing in my opinion ;) ). I do measure fruit sometimes. If I’m putting blueberries into oats for example, I measure out a 1/4 cup just so I kind of know what I’m getting fruit wise throughout the day. Obviously, if it’s an apple or peach or something like that I just eat the whole thing!

  2. says

    I love the concept and idea of this project! It’s a very tangible challenge for people who aren’t getting the basic fruits & veggies each day. Much like Gina, my fruit & veggie consumption is a “go with the flow” type of thing. I make fruits & veggies the base of all my meals and eating what my body needs happens very… organically! (sorry -bad pun!). Good luck with the challenge!

  3. says

    I tend to estimate my servings, although I know I eat way more than the serving size of spinach and certain fruits, like watermelon.

  4. says

    I usually eyeball servings but this post was very helpful because I was wondering about these things. It’s hard for me to calculate sometimes, and these tips will make it easier!

  5. says

    i love ellie krieger too! i have 2 of her cookbooks & read that she has a new one coming out in sept. :) i never measure out fruits/veggies…i just figure that i eat alot of both & even if you’re not “supposed” to eat a ton of fruits, that’s better than eating a lot of dessert or whatever. :)

  6. says

    I make a salad with grilled potatoes, grilled eggplant, grilled red peppers, and grilled onions with a lemony-Greek (homemade) vinaigrette… oh and feta cheese. So. Dang. Yummy.

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