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FOR RELEASE: September 14 , 2006
CONTACT: Pamela Williams
Office of Communications

Fruits and Veggies Count: Do you know what you need?
September is Fruit and Vegetable Month

The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) encourages all Oklahomans during the month of September to focus on eating more fruits and vegetables as a way to become healthier and stay fit.

Fruits and vegetables are well-known ingredients for a healthy diet and research continues to reveal the health benefits of eating more servings. The 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans almost doubled the recommended intake of fruits and vegetables, making them the largest part of a nutritious diet.

Some of the health benefits of eating more fruits and vegetables include the following:

  • Fruits and vegetables are low in calories and high in fiber, which may help individuals control their weight.
  • Fruits and vegetables may decrease the risk of developing certain chronic diseases, such as heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer.
  • Fruits and vegetables are excellent sources of folate, potassium, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, and other essential vitamins and minerals.

Everyone needs different amounts of fruits and vegetables in their diet. As you age, the recommendation increases for nearly all age groups. And, the more physically active you are, the greater your need for fruits and vegetables. The following guidelines apply to Oklahomans who are moderately active. For more personalized recommendations, check out this Web site: www.MyPyramid.gov.

Age Groups Fruits Vegetables
Girls 2-8 years 1 cup 1-1.5 cups
Girls 9-18 years 1.5 cups 2-2.5 cups
Boys 2-8 years 1-1.5 cups 1-1.5 cups
Boys 9-18 years 1.5-2 cups 2.5-3 cups
Women 19-50 years 1.5-2 cups 2-2.5 cups
Women 51 + years 1.5 cups 2 cups
Men 19-50 years 2 cups 3 cups
Men 51 + years 2 cups 2.5 cups

Not all fruits and vegetables can be easily measured. One large orange, one large ear of corn, and one large sweet potato all count as one cup. Sixteen grapes, six baby carrots, or four large strawberries each count as half a cup. For more information on serving sizes, visit this Web site: www.5aday.gov.

The following suggestions can help you add more fruits and vegetables to your diet:

  • Add fresh or frozen berries to yogurt or granola.
  • Add vegetables such as tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, or peppers to your eggs.
  • Have a fruit or vegetable as a morning or afternoon snack.
  • Add fresh or frozen vegetables to a casserole or pasta.
  • Use canned and frozen fruits and vegetables when fresh are not available.
  • Ask for less cheese and more vegetable toppings on pizza.
  • Add an extra vegetable to dinner.
  • Eat a sweet piece of fruit for dessert.
  • Visit your local Farmer’s Market for the freshest fruits and vegetables available.

For more information about healthy eating and nutrition, contact your healthcare provider, your local county health department, or the OSDH, and remember for best health, “Eat better, move more and be tobacco free.”


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