How can I possibly eat that many servings without gaining weight?
MyPlate recommends such large amounts of vegetables and fruit.
A First, consider your typical portion sizes; you may be closer to meeting the recommendations than you think. Many people consume large servings of foods and underestimate the size of their portions. For example, a large banana may contain the equivalent of a cup of fruit, or half the recommended daily total for someone consuming 2000-2600 calories per day. Likewise, a small salad may easily contain one cup of leafy greens and count as one-half cup of vegetables. Use a measuring cup or a food scale for a few days to train your eye to accurately estimate food portion sizes. The http://www.ChooseMyPlate.gov website includes charts of portion-size equivalents for each food group.
If an analysis of your diet indicates that you need to increase your overall intake of fruits and vegetables, look for healthy substitutions. If you are like most Americans, you are consuming more than the recommended number of calories from added sugars and solid fats; trim some of these calories to make room for additional servings of fruits and vegetables. Your beverage choices may be a good place to start. Do you routinely consume regular sodas, sweetened energy or fruit drinks, or whole milk? One regular 12-ounce soda contains the equivalent of about 150 calories of added sugars; an 8-ounce glass of whole milk provides about 75 calories as discretionary fats. Substituting water or low-fat milk would free up calories for additional servings of fruits and vegetables.
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A half-cup of carrots, tomatoes, apples, or melon has only about 25 calories; you could consume six cups of these foods for the calories in one can of regular soda. Substituting lower-fat condiments for such full-fat items as butter, mayonnaise, and salad dressing is another good way to trim calories to make room for additional servings of nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables.
Also consider your portion sizes and/ or the frequency with which you consume foods high in discretionary calories: You may not need to eliminate a favorite food instead, just cut back. For example, cut your consumption of fast-food fries from four times a week to once a week, or reduce the size of your ice cream dessert from a cup to one-half cup. Treats should be consumed infrequently and in small amounts.
For additional help on improving food choices to meet dietary recommendations, visit http://www.ChooseMyPlate .gov and the family-friendly chart of “We Can! Go, Slow, and Whoa” foods at the site for the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (http://www.nhlbi .nih.gov/health/public/heart/obesity /wecan/downloads/gswtips.pdf).
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