What a Day's Worth of Fruit and Vegetables Looks Like

It probably adds up to less food than you think

daily recommendation of fruits and vegetables Photo: John Walsh/Consumer Reports

Daily intake recommendations for produce vary by age and gender.

Women ages 19 and older should get 1½ to 2 cups of fruit a day. For vegetables, they should aim for 2½ to 3 cups until age 30 and 2 to 3 cups from age 31 onward.

Men ages 19 to 59 should get 2 to 2½ cups of fruit and 3 to 4 cups of vegetables a day. At 60, the recommendations change to 2 cups a day for fruit and 2½ to 3½ cups for vegetables.

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“That may sound like a lot, but when a day’s worth is spread out in front of you, reaching the goal seems much more manageable,” says Amy Keating, RD, a CR nutritionist.

The examples below aim to meet somewhere in the middle, illustrating how to get a daily “dose” of 2 cups of fruit and 2½ cups of vegetables over the course of three days.

Day 1: (pictured above): a salad with 2 cups dark leafy greens (counts as a 1-cup serving); nine grape tomatoes (½ cup); one medium carrot (½ cup); one-fourth medium cucumber (½ cup); half of a large apple (1 cup); and eight large strawberries (1 cup).

Day 2: ¼-cup guacamole (counts as ½ cup); 12 baby carrots (1 cup); one large ear of corn on the cob (1 cup); a small 1-inch-thick wedge of watermelon (1 cup); one large peach (1 cup).

Day 3: one large sweet potato (counts as 1 cup); one large stalk of celery (½ cup); three medium broccoli spears (1 cup); nine dried apricot halves (½ cup); one large plum (½ cup); one large banana (1 cup).

Trisha Calvo

I've covered health and nutrition my entire career, so I know how to separate science from hype. Whether it's about food labels, sunscreen, or food safety, my goal is to deliver information that makes following a healthy lifestyle easier. Healthy cooking is a favorite hobby, and friends think I'm crazy, but I can happily spend hours grocery shopping. Follow me on Twitter. (@TrishaCalvo)