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Focus on Fruits (FN722)

Fruits are a great source of vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytochemicals (“phyto” means plant). The usual sweetness of fruits makes them an enjoyable food.

Julie Garden-Robinson, Ph.D., R.D., L.R.D., food and nutrition specialist


My Plate

Are you meeting the current recommendation for fruit? Do you know the number of cups of fruit recommended for you?

The food icon, can help you determine what you need and track your progress toward nutrition goals. Your personalized plan helps you choose the foods your body needs most.

Try these questions

1. How much fruit is recommended, according to the new MyPlate?

a. ½ cup a day

b. 2 cups a day

c. It varies depending on your age, sex and activity level.

2. True/false: Any fruit or 100 percent fruit juice counts as part of the fruit group.

3. True/false: Fruits are available in many forms, including fresh, canned, frozen or dried.

4. True/false: Having a piece of whole or cut-up fruit provides dietary fiber that fruit juice does not.

5. True/false: Fruits canned in 100 percent fruit juice or water are a healthier choice than those canned in syrup.

6. True/false: Choosing a variety of fruits and including different colors every day is important.

Answers

1. “c” is the correct answer. For example, the fruit recommendation for women ages 31 and older who get less than 30 minutes of daily physical activity is 1½ cups per day.

2-6. All of the statements are true. Fruits are available in many forms and they vary in nutrition, so aim for variety every day.

Try these tips to help meet the daily fruit recommendation for you

Buy fruits that are easy and convenient

▲ Keep a bowl of whole fruit on the table or counter for easy reach.

▲ Buy fresh, dried, frozen and canned (in water or juice) fruits so you always have some on hand.

▲ Try pre-cut packages of fruit without added sugar for a quick and healthy snack.

Have fruit available for quick snacks

▲ Enjoy dried fruits, which are easy to carry and store. One-fourth cup of dried fruit is equal to one-half cup of regular fruit due to the drying.

▲ Keep a package in your desk or bag for a quick fruity snack.

▲ Eat a frozen 100 percent juice bar as a healthy, cool treat.

▲ Grab an apple, orange or other whole fruit for an on-the-go snack.

Add more fruit to meals

▲ Top your cereal with banana slices or berries, drink 100 percent orange or grape juice or have a mixed-fruit yogurt to start your day with fruit.

▲ Choose fruit options at a restaurant for lunch. Or pack a piece of fruit or an individual serving of applesauce or other fruit.

▲ Add fruit to salads and dishes at dinner. Try grapes in a tossed salad or pineapple with your meat.

Make fruit more fun

▲ Allow children to pick fruit for their lunches or try a new kind at home.

▲ Offer raisins or dried fruits instead of candy, and boxes of 100 percent juice instead of pop.

▲ Decorate plates with fruit slices or top a pancake with a smiley face of fruit.

▲ Have fruit with low-fat or fat-free yogurt dips or in a yogurt smoothie.

Try this example

The amount of fruit you need to eat depends on age, sex and level of physical activity. Recommended daily amounts are shown in the chart.

Question: How much fruit should a 16-year-old boy consume daily? __________

Daily Recommendation

* These amounts are appropriate for individuals who get less than 30 minutes per day of moderate physical activity, beyond normal daily activities. Those who are more physically active may be able to consume more while staying within calorie needs.

Answer: 2 cups

Find your own ways to add more fruit to your diet. Discover your individual fruit recommendation.

For more information about nutrition, food safety and health.

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