Easy Ways to Eat 5 Fruits and Veggies Each Day

Easy Ways to Eat 5 Fruits & Veggies Each Day images
Easy Ways to Eat 5 Fruits & Veggies Each Day images

Tricks for Healthy Treats

Easy Ways to Eat 5 Fruits and Veggies Each Day, “Eat your fruits and vegetables.” We’ve heard it all of our lives. If only it were so simple.

Our bodies crave fruits and vegetables more than just about any other food because we tend to get far fewer of them than we need. We often think we’d survive just fine on 2-3 servings a day – or less. But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the USDA both recommend at least 5 servings per day! What you’re missing could be the difference between just surviving and all out thriving.

With just a little thought and a tiny bit of effort in snack preparation, you can make these nutritious foods more convenient and accessible.

Tips and Tricks

Add fruit to your cereal, oatmeal, waffles or pancakes at breakfast.
Create your own yogurt flavors with plain yogurt and different combinations of fresh fruit.
Snack on raw vegetables or fruits instead of chips or pretzels. Keep sugar snap peas, raisins or carrot sticks in your car, your office or your backpack.
Use chunky salsa instead of thick, creamy snack dips.
Drink 100% juice instead of addictive coffee, tea, or soda.
Going out to lunch? Take a trip to the grocery salad bar. Use lots of dark green leaves and other vegetables instead of piling on all of the extras like eggs, bacon and cheese.
Add frozen veggies to any pasta dish. It’s an easy way to get in another serving of the good stuff.
Keep fruits and vegetables in line of sight. Grapes, oranges, bananas, and apples make a colorful bowl arrangement on the table. If you see them, you will eat them.
Dried fruit is just as portable as potato chips — and less messy. It tastes especially good when added to basic trail mix.
When cooking vegetables, makes 2-3 times more than you need and immdiately store the extra away for tomorrow. It’ll save you time later on.
Add your own beans and vegetables (tomatoes, spinach, peppers, cabbage) to canned and quick-serve soups.
If you must have pizza, load on extra veggies and pineapple instead of fatty meats and extra cheese.
Try berries, melons or dates for a naturally sweet dessert rather than the usual candy bar, cookie, or ice cream sandwich.
Frozen fruit and veggies are nearly as healthy as the fresh stuff, and only take minutes to prepare.
Combine fruit with your main meal courses. Raisins, apples and tangerine slices add sweet, crunchy variety to a salad. Apples complement pork, pineapple is great with fish, and orange slices are perfect with chicken.
Besides being packed full of nutrients, fruits and vegetables can also be quite filling. They may even ward off any empty calorie snacking that might follow! Don’t be discouraged by the recommended 5 servings a day. The guide below shows that one serving is less than what you might think.

One serving equals:
1 medium piece of fruit
1/2 cup fruit (raw, canned, or frozen)
1/2 cup cooked vegetables (canned or frozen)
1 cup raw vegetables
1/4 cup dried fruit
4-6 oz. of 100% juice (serving size depends on the type of juice)
1/2 cup cooked peas or beans

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The 12 Most Pesticide Polluted Fruit and Veggies

1.Strawberries

The 12 Most Pesticide Polluted Fruit and Veggies images - Strawberries
The 12 Most Pesticide Polluted Fruit and Veggies images – Strawberries

According to the United States Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the following fruits and vegetables are the most commonly eaten — and most commonly full of chemical. Use these tips to limit your risk of ingesting pesticides, too.

Why strawberries risky: “Strawberries are very tender and very delicate and grown close to the soil,” says says Chensheng (Alex) Lu, Ph.D., assistant professor of environmental exposure biology, Harvard School of Public Health. That’s also where insects live, so farmers often resort to pesticides. To prevent mold and extend shelf life, they also use fungicides, even after harvest.

How to lower your exposure: Buy organic berries to help avoid harsh chemicals. A 2008 study at Emory University and the University of Washington found that certain pesticide levels dropped to undetectable (or close to it) in the urine of kids who switched to organic fruits and veggies. “The organic certification guarantees you that significantly fewer pesticides and lower amounts of pesticides were used in the growing of that commodity,” says Anne Riederer, Sc.D., assistant research professor at Emory.

2. Celery

The 12 Most Pesticide Polluted Fruit and Veggies images - Celery
The 12 Most Pesticide Polluted Fruit and Veggies images – Celery

Why it’s risky: Grown for months, celery is subjected to more pesticides over a long period of time. Unlike broccoli, which is sheltered by big leaves on big bushes, celery is not protected from pesticides.

How to lower your exposure: Buy organic or frequent farmers’ markets with small growers who can’t afford or choose not to use expensive pesticides, says Lu. (Don’t be afraid to ask the sellers about their use of pesticides.) Or try a cleaner green veggie alternative, like avocado or asparagus, both of which have low exposure to pesticides, according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG).

3. Peaches

The 12 Most Pesticide Polluted Fruit and Veggies images - Peaches
The 12 Most Pesticide Polluted Fruit and Veggies images – Peaches

Why they’re risky: To keep production up, farmers use pesticides on crops that are especially vulnerable to bugs, like peaches. The so-called “fragrant fruit” (yummy for pests) is also very thin skinned, which makes it easy for bugs and pesticides to enter. Farmers want to prevent diseases such as “leaf curl,” which reduce the number of peaches they can harvest from their trees. An August 2009 Chicago Tribune investigation reported that USDA tests showed more than 50 pesticide compounds end up on domestic and imported peaches.

How to lower your exposure: If you love peaches, go organic—especially if you’re pregnant or have a child under 6, says Riederer. Or for a sweet alternative with a similar texture, try domestically grown plums, which typically have less exposure to pesticides, according to the EWG.

4. Nectarines

The 12 Most Pesticide Polluted Fruit and Veggies images - Nectarines
The 12 Most Pesticide Polluted Fruit and Veggies images – Nectarines

Why they’re risky: Insects like nectarines, especially when the fruit is young or when the trees are blooming. So many farmers decide to use pesticides to lower the risk of losing the battle of the bugs.

How to lower your exposure: If organic nectarines aren’t available, skip them. The thin skin means pesticides are absorbed easily, making it impossible to scrub them clean. Try domestic plums or fruits with thick skin—like watermelon or pineapple—that protect their insides.

5. Apples

The 12 Most Pesticide Polluted Fruit and Veggies images - Apples
The 12 Most Pesticide Polluted Fruit and Veggies images – Apples

Why they’re risky: Chemical companies make pesticides specifically for apples since they’re hugely popular and widely grown.

How to lower your exposure: Buy organic, scrub thoroughly, and peel off the skin. And when shopping for organic apples, don’t get too hung up on looks, says Lu. They may not look as good as regular apples, but they should taste fine and because they were grown without pesticides, they are better for you.

6. Blueberries

The 12 Most Pesticide Polluted Fruit and Veggies images - Blueberries
The 12 Most Pesticide Polluted Fruit and Veggies images – Blueberries

Why they’re risky: Blueberries, largely grown in North America, are very susceptible to pests—the skin is permeable and very fragile, which makes it easy to eat through. When growers use pesticides, many of them go right into the flesh of the berry. Don’t freeze your blueberries, either. “Freezing preserves pesticides,” says Lu. Though some pesticides break down over time, that won’t happen in the freezer.

How to lower your exposure: Buy organic or from local growers who don’t use pesticides, and wash thoroughly. Berries, in general, tend to be more vulnerable to pesticides than other fruits like kiwi and bananas because of their thin skins.

7. Sweet Bell Peppers

The 12 Most Pesticide Polluted Fruit and Veggies images - Sweet Bell Peppers
The 12 Most Pesticide Polluted Fruit and Veggies images – Sweet Bell Peppers

Why they’re risky: Native to Central and South America, sweet bell peppers are the ripened form of the more bitter green variety. That means they’re grown for a longer time and are exposed to more pesticides than their green relatives.

How to lower your exposure: Try organic or farmers’ market sweet bell peppers—or opt for green varieties over red, at least.

8. Spinach

The 12 Most Pesticide Polluted Fruit and Veggies images - Spinach
The 12 Most Pesticide Polluted Fruit and Veggies images – Spinach

Why it’s risky: Because its leaves grow above ground, spinach has a lot of exposed surface that gets sprayed with pesticides. It’s tricky to get good-looking spinach that hasn’t been chemically treated to kill bacteria.

How to lower your exposure: Buy organic or farmers‘ market spinach—and, again, don’t worry if it’s not perfect looking, says Lu. “A small bug hole is not going to hurt consumers. It’s a cosmetic defect.” Or, for a leafy alternative, try cabbage, which the EWG ranks as one of the cleanest types of produce. (More than four-fifths of cabbage samples, about 82.1 percent, had no detectable pesticides.)

9. Kale and Collard Greens

The 12 Most Pesticide Polluted Fruit and Veggies images - Kale and Collard Greens
The 12 Most Pesticide Polluted Fruit and Veggies images – Kale and Collard Greens

Why they’re risky: Like spinach, these leafy greens have a lot of exposed surface area that can absorb pesticide and chemical spray.

How to lower your exposure: If you don’t have a local farmers’ market, why not try to grow your own? Kale, one of the hardiest of edible greens, is relatively easy to grow in a home garden. Then you can ensure no harmful chemicals were added in the growing process. Or shop for cabbage as an alternative.

10. Cherries

The 12 Most Pesticide Polluted Fruit and Veggies images - Cherries
The 12 Most Pesticide Polluted Fruit and Veggies images – Cherries

Why they’re risky: This fleshy stone fruit is usually grown in the Midwest and the Pacific Northwest. It hides behind leaves to stay safe from fruit flies and moths, but farmers tend to douse the fruit with chemicals to make sure they get a good harvest, says Lu.

How to lower your exposure: Look for farmers’ market or organic cherries.

11. Potatoes

The 12 Most Pesticide Polluted Fruit and Veggies images - Potatoes
The 12 Most Pesticide Polluted Fruit and Veggies images – Potatoes

Why they’re risky: Just because potatoes grow below the ground, doesn’t mean they’re safe from pesticides “We find pesticides in below-ground vegetables,” says Riederer. “They’re taking it up out of their leaves or the soil around them.” Early in the growing season, farmers inject pesticides into the soil, and later, they may crop dust, says Lu.

How to lower your exposure: If farmers plant on a very small scale, they may not need many chemicals, says Lu. Look for potatoes grown by small local farms. Or try sweet potatoes, which were among the cleanest vegetables tested by the EWG.

12. Grapes (Imported)

The 12 Most Pesticide Polluted Fruit and Veggies images - Grapes
The 12 Most Pesticide Polluted Fruit and Veggies images – Grapes

Why they’re risky: Grapes are tender and thin-skinned, which makes them vulnerable. To ward off the grape berry moth and other pests, farmers often turn to pesticides.

How to lower your exposure: Avoid imported grapes, unless they are grown organically. Domestically grown grapes were found by the EWG to have less evidence of pesticides, ranking in the middle of the 49 foods tested. But organic grapes are still safer.