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Vegetables and Fruit

Vegetables and fruit are essential for good health. Moreover, some of their components can help prevent certain diseases, such as cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases. Indeed, they contain vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber as well as being low in fat. It is better to choose those with the brightest colors, such as green, orange, or dark green (e.g. spinach, bell peppers, broccoli, romaine, leaf lettuce, berries, and cranberries), because they are higher in nutrients.

Whether fresh, frozen, or canned, vegetables and fruit are excellent dietary choices. Canned vegetables and fruit should be rinsed, however, to remove their surplus sugar and salt. Preference should be given to fresh vegetables and fruit, when in season, because they contain more vitamins and minerals. During the winter, however, frozen vegetables are a wise alternative to fresh produce, since they are less expensive and sometimes of even higher quality.

Getting the Most Out of the Recommendations in Canada's Food Guide

  • Every day, you should eat at least one dark-green and one orange vegetable.
  • Enjoy vegetables and fruit prepared with little or no added fat, sugar, or salt.
  • Have vegetables and fruit more often than juice.

Recommended Servings

Canada’s Food Guide recommends that adults have 7 to 10 servings of vegetables and fruit every day, depending on age and sex.

A serving is:

  • 1 average-size piece of fruit or vegetable (e.g. 1 carrot, 1 tomato, 1 apple, 1 pear)
  • 125 mL (½ cup) of fresh, frozen, or canned vegetables or fruit
  • 250 mL (1 cup) of greens or lettuce
  • 125 mL (½ cup) of vegetable or fruit juice (no added sugar)
  • 60 mL (1/4 cup) of dried fruit (e.g. raisins, cranberries, apricots)

Simple Tips for Eating more Vegetables and Fruit

  • Get into the habit of eating a piece of fruit or a vegetable at breakfast. Add bananas or strawberries to your cereal or have tomatoes with your eggs.
  • Serve vegetable soup, salads, or raw vegetables as appetizers.
  • Half of your main dish should contain vegetables, fruit, or both.
  • Keep vegetables and fruit on hand at work and in the car: raw vegetables, fresh or dried fruit, etc. They are easy to eat and not messy.
  • Prepare raw vegetables ahead of time (3 or 4 days). Remember to rinse them. Store them in a sealed container or bag to keep them from drying out.
  • Buy prepackaged vegetables such as miniature carrots, greens, or string beans. You can use them to whip up a salad, stir-fried vegetables, or a casserole.
  • Serve fruit as appetizers, snacks, or dessert.
  • Add fruit to your recipes: bake blueberry muffins or date bars. Certain kinds of meat to go quite well with fruit. Have you ever tried chicken with cranberries, pork chops with apples, or ham with pineapple? These dishes are not only tasty, but excellent for your health.
  • Choose 100% fruit juice, not drinks or punches that contain a blend of juice, water, and sugar in varying quantities. Some drinks only contain 25% real fruit juice and have added sugar and sometimes coloring.
  • Buy canned fruit packed in its own juice rather than syrup with added sugar.