However insane or ridiculous it might sound, it is possible to consume 9 servings of produce each day. Add kids, a job, hobbies and life to the mix and, well… it’s a bit more challenging, but still possible. You might be wondering “why on earth do I need NINE servings of produce daily?” I get it. Why would you go to the trouble of counting your fruits and veggies daily when most people are counting calories (a strategy that I don’t recommend)? Counting your daily produce servings isn’t as silly as you’d think. In fact, we’d all be a whole lot healthier if we were eating the fruits and veggie requirements. And, I’d venture to guess that most of us aren’t even meeting half that!
In fact, America doesn’t even produce (or import) enough fruits and vegetables for every one of us to eat the USDA’s recommended daily intake (report from UCS here).
Changing policies to reverse this ridiculous situation will not be covered in this blog post (you’re welcome!). Instead I encourage you to create positive change with your wallet and fork. While I’ll refrain from sharing the fascinating details of nutritional biochemistry, there are a few key reasons why a busy mom would want to eat 9 servings of fruits and veggies each day.
More energy to chase rug rats
Without enough magnesium and B vitamins, your body can’t produce energy for its cells – the result is one tired mama! Skip the fatigue and instead add in more spinach, tomatoes, mushrooms, and bananas to keep your energy stable.
Better immunity to fight off germ factories (aka kids)
The body uses vitamin A in veggies like sweet potatoes, carrots, spinach and kale to produce functional immune cells that fight off infections and bacteria. Plus, ongoing consumption of fruits and veggies high in vitamin C like strawberries, bell peppers and broccoli reduces duration and intensity of common colds.
Faster healing from cuts
Folate in leafy greens and asparagus is critical in repairing tissues from small kitchen cuts to wounds from c-sections.
Hang with the kiddos longer
Phytochemicals, the compounds in fruits and veggies that give them color, are used to fight off infection and disease. These same compounds speak to the genes in humans and can essentially keep our genes healthy! Harvard consistently sites several large studies that prove noshing on LOTS of fruits and veggies lowers your risk of heart disease, stroke and many forms of cancer. Hopefully, these nuggets of knowledge will motivate you to quit counting calories and start counting produce servings! It doesn’t have to be as difficult as you think. Here are two sample daily menus that include a whopping 9 servings of fruits and vegetables.