We know we should eat more fruits and vegetables, but how much more?

We've heard it so often, it is almost a mantra, isn't eat" "Eat more fruits and vegetables." Eat MORE fruits and vegetables." Eat more FRUITS and VEGETABLES!"

Okay, already. But how much more? Good question. Now for an equally good answer.

The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) has put out a handy Website that focuses on fruits and vegetables. While the site has all sorts of goodies, from recipes to tips, the handiest thing of all is a tool that helps you to calculate exactly how many fruits and vegetables you should be eating.

Incredibly easy to work, all you have to do is enter your age, sex (although they mean gender), and physical activity. So let's see what it says for me ...
Age: 18
Sex (gender): Female
Physical activity: More than 60 minutes a day

And the answer is: "2 cups of fruit and 3 cups of vegetables." Of course, that is only valid if all of the qualifiers I entered were accurate. (I, erm, use my own system, you see, where I deduct a bit off my age and add it to my physical activity to, erm, balance it out.)

Getting more fruits and vegetables into your diet
The site also has some nice tips, including:
  • Have fruit as a mid-morning snack
  • Add strawberries, blueberries, or bananas to your waffles, pancakes, cereal, oatmeal, or toast
  • Add vegetables like bell peppers, broccoli, spinach, mushrooms or tomatoes to your egg or egg white omelet
  • Stash bags of dried fruit at your desk for a convenient snack
  • Top a cup of fat-free or low-fat yogurt with sliced fresh fruit

And, oh yes, don't forget the food recipes

There are all sorts of recipes (of all calibres) on the site, including this interesting one from the Northwest Cherry Growers.
Food recipe: Cherry Pepper Salad
1 cup pitted fresh sweet cherries
1 cup thinly sliced sweet yellow peppers
1 cup thinly sliced green peppers
1/4 cup thinly sliced mild chili pepper
2 Tbsp finely chopped onion
2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
1/2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp sugar
salt and pepper to taste
1 Tbsp pickled ginger strips, optional
4 cups mixed greens

Toss together all ingredients except greens; refrigerate 1 hour or longer. Serve on mixed greens.