|Fruits and veggies combine beautifully in a smoothie.|
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How Many Fruits and Veggies Should I Eat?
Most nutritionists recommend consuming at least 5 to 7 servings of fruits and veggies a day. But there is often confusion about serving size, the number of fruits versus vegetables, the recommendations for adults versus kids, etc.. I just found an interesting GUIDELINE that may clear some of this up. The amounts vary with age, whether you are male or female and your level of activity. In most cases, the minimum is 5 CUPS of fruits and vegetables (not servings) with the recommended consumption of fruit being less than vegetables. An example of 5 cups of fruits and vegetables would be:
8 large strawberries
1 cup green beans
1 large sweet potato
10 broccoli floretsNow that's not so bad, is it? In fact, most people who eat a healthy plant-based diet eat at least this a day. But for others, this can be a challenge. Especially if you are racing to work and only have time to grab a bagel. Lunch is a sandwich and chips and dinner is a plate of pasta and maybe a small salad. For these people, daily fruit and vegetable consumption may barely reach one a cup. And kids have the same problem.
A 2010 study revealed the shocking statistic that a third of high school students consume vegetables less than once a day and a quarter of them eat fruit less than once a day!
Why does this matter? It matters because the people who manage to reach that 5 or more cup goal are less likely to be obese and have fewer chronic diseases such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and cancer. So start keeping a daily log for you and your children- even if it's just for a week. It will give you an appreciation of how much of these critical foods are actually being consumed on a daily basis.
You all know how much I love my morning smoothie. But as yummy as it is to make your smoothie a fruit shake, we should also remember to throw some veggies in too. Here are a few example vegetables that blend well into a smoothie:
* Carrots (my new favorite addition)
* Zucchini or butternut squash
You Need a High-Speed Blender
If you do this with the blender that you use to make frozen margaritas, you may end up with a pretty undrinkable mixture. I can't stress enough how important it is to own a good high-speed blender. I personally have a Vitamix but was recently introduced to a Blendtec. They are both excellent blenders. Yes, they are pricey but you will use it every day! Look for sales at Costco or buy one that's used. They last a long long time.
Spinach and Carrots
I love adding baby spinach and carrots to my smoothie. They both contain carotenoids that are very beneficial for eye health. Spinach and carrots are high in beta-carotene and lutein and spinach also contains zeaxanthin. Since I spend most days staring at a computer screen, my poor eyes need all the help they can get.
FYI, to get the most out of carotenoids, eat them with a healthy fat such as fresh, cold-pressed flaxseed oil.
|Fruit and veggie smoothie|
Fruit and Veggie Smoothie
Vegan, (or Raw Vegan), Gluten Free
[makes two (2 cup) servings]
Requires high-speed blender
1 1/2 cups non-dairy milk, such as organic soy milk *
2 (unpacked) cups baby spinach or kale
1 carrot, sliced
1 organic apple, cored and cut into 8 pieces
1 cup frozen blueberries
1 packet stevia
1 tablespoon cold-pressed flaxseed oil (check press date)
4,000 IU drop of vitamin D3 (optional, not vegan)
* For a raw smoothie, substitute with 1 1/2 cups water and 1/4 cup soaked walnuts
Place all ingredients except flaxseed oil and vitamin D in a high-speed blender, placing frozen blueberries on top. Blend until smooth.
Add flaxseed oil and vitamin D and blend briefly.
Each serving provides 1 cup fruit and 1 1/4 cups vegetables.
Per serving: 271 calories, 10.6 g fat, 0.9 g saturated fat, 3.7 g omega-3 and 1.1 g omega-6 fatty acids, 0 mg cholesterol, 7.6 g protein, 40.4 g carbohydrates, 8.1 g dietary fiber and 111 mg sodium.