Tips for Eating Fruits and Vegetables

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Did You Know?

Of ASU students surveyed:

  • 4.5% reported they usually consume the recommended 5 or more servings of fruits and vegetables daily.  
  • 27.5% reported they usually consume at least 3 servings of fruit and vegetables daily. 
  • 35.7% reported they ate a variety of nutritious foods from each food group 6 or 7 days of the past week.


    Source: American College Health Association. American College Health Association-National College Health Assessment: Arizona State University Spring 2018. Baltimore: American College Health Association; Spring 2018 (n=1,304).


Health authorities recommend a daily minimum of 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day or about 2 ½ cups of vegetables daily plus 2 cups of fruit daily.

  • A serving of raw or cooked vegetables or fruit is about the size of a tennis ball, or fist.
  • For salad greens or berries, it is about the amount you can hold in your two cupped hands, or a small cereal bowl.
  • A serving of vegetable or fruit juice is 4-6 ounces, or about half the size of a can of soda.

Higher intakes of fruits and vegetables have consistently been identified as part of a healthy eating style, which contributes to:

  • Positive health outcomes
  • Better weight management
  • Reduced risk of cardiovascular disease
  • Reduced risk of type 2 diabetes
  • Reduced risk of certain types of cancer

Adapted from the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020, eighth edition.

Trying to consume more vegetables? Try these strategies:

  • Aim for 3-5 servings a day of raw or cooked veggies, or vegetable juice.
  • Choose a variety of vegetables from all the vegetable subgroups: dark green, red and orange, legumes (beans and peas), starchy and other. Each subgroup provides a different mix of nutrients.
  • Go for color. Vegetables with darker color (of the part eaten) tend to offer more nutrients.
  • Cut up your vegetables and put them in baggies or clear containers in the fridge. This way they are easily assessable for a quick snack.
  • Be creative with your salads. If you love tomatoes, have a tomato salad. Make a green bean salad, broccoli salad, whatever veggie you like salad….
  • Seek out variety. Eat vegetables you have never tried and unusual varieties. If you like what you tried, great! If not, pass it over next time.
  • Try a variety of preparation methods, such as stir-frying, grilling, and steaming.
  • Which veggies did you shun as a child? Try them again. Try them prepared differently. You may learn that you like them now, or prepared in a way you haven’t tried before.
  • Make lettuce wraps. Fill lettuce leaves with your favorite fillings, such as rice or chicken.
  • Dip lettuce or any of your favorite vegetables in dressing.
  • Make a wrap by preparing a salad and wrapping it in a tortilla.
  • Load up your sandwiches with plenty of salad greens, cucumbers, green/red peppers, tomatoes and/or radishes.
  • Include a serving of vegetables and/or a green salad with every meal.

Trying to consumer more fruits? Try these strategies:

  • Aim for 2-4 servings a day.
  • Make sure fruit juice is 100% juice. Drink fruit juice wisely, as it is high in natural sugars and can contribute to excess calories.
  • Keep fruit out in the open and easily assessable. Decorate your countertop with a colorful bowl of fresh fruit.
  • Top your favorite cereal with fresh berries or peaches.
  • Stir peaches, strawberries, raspberries, or blueberries into vanilla yogurt.
  • If you don’t eat your fruit in time and it is ready to go bad, stick it in the freezer and save for a later date. Frozen fruit is great for making a smoothie.
  • Keep fruit handy. Cut it up in the morning and put it in a baggie to carry with you for the day. Another option is to wrap delicate fruit, such as peaches in paper towels and put it in a plastic container to protect it from squishing in your backpack.
  • Make a smoothie. It is an easy and delicious way to take in several servings of fruit.
  • Go to a salad bar and load up on a fruit salad.
  • Eat fruit as a dessert.

Concerned about a friend’s eating habits? What can you do?

  • Set an example of health by choosing nutritious foods and beverages.
  • Identify your concerns in a private conversation.
  • Ask about their choices in a curious, non-judgmental way.
  • Use conversation-starting questions such as “what were your favorite foods growing up?" “how has your eating style changed since starting college?” etc.
  • Recommend talking with a registered dietitian, or other health professional.
  • Let your friend know that you care about them.