Everyone knows they should be eating more fruits and vegetables. But how to fit in the recommended 5 servings a day? Surprisingly, it isn’t as difficult as you might think. One serving of fruit or vegetables can be easily added in with a bit of planning. So, what’s in a serving?
1 serving of fruit: 1 cup berries or melon, 1 medium apple or peach (about the size of a tennis ball), 1/2 banana or 1/2 grapefruit, about 17 small grapes or cherries, 1/2 cup canned fruit (lite or light), 1/4 cup dried fruit (craisins, rasins, dates) 1/2 cup (4 oz) of 100% fruit juice. Each serving provides approximately 15 grams of carbohydrates and equals 1 carbohydrate choice.
Add 1/4 cup raisins to your oatmeal, have 1/2 sliced banana on your toast, drink 1/2 cup orange juice before your morning coffee, take an apple with you to snack on after work.
Many vegetables have very little carbohydrate so eating more of these can help add not only vitamins and minerals but also fiber which helps fill you up with very few calories. The vegetables that have more carbohydrates are called “starchy” vegetables. Starchy vegetables include peas, corn, potatoes (red, russet, sweet, etc). 1 serving of starchy vegetables provides approximately 15 grams carbohydrate or 1 carbohydrate choice. Non starchy vegetables provide less carbohydrates per serving, generally about 5 grams carbohydrate per serving.
1 serving of starchy vegetables is 1/2 cup of peas, corn, potatoes, 1/2 cup cooked vegetables such as carrots, broccoli, green beans, etc. or 1 cup raw vegetables like cucumber or tomatoes.
Have a large salad as your main entrée at lunch. Eat 2 non-starchy vegetable servings at dinner, for example, cooked carrots or broccoli. Spread out your vegetables and fruits throughout the day to help balance your carbohydrate intake and control your blood sugars. Eating more fruits and vegetables can be an easy way to improve your health and blood sugars.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sara K. is a Registered Dietitian for America’s Dietitians and continues to service and educate our Diabetic population in the Kansas City area. Her dedication to patient wellness in patient’s homes has been well received by our partners in the Healthcare Team.