Vegetables and Fruits
Choose more vegetables and fruits. Go for color and variety—dark green, yellow, orange, and red.
It’s hard to argue with the health benefits of a diet rich in vegetables and fruits: Lower blood pressure; reduced risk of heart disease, stroke, and probably some cancers; lower risk of eye and digestive problems; and a mellowing effect on blood sugar that can help keep appetite in check.
Most people should aim for at least nine servings (at least 4½ cups) of vegetables and fruits a day, and potatoes don’t count. Go for a variety of kinds and colors of produce, to give your body the mix of nutrients it needs. Best bets? Dark leafy greens, cooked tomatoes, and anything that’s a rich yellow, orange, or red color.
5 Quick Tips: Eating More Vegetables and Fruit
1. Keep fruit out where you can see it. That way you’ll be more likely to eat it. Keep it out on the counter or in the front of the fridge.
2. Get some every meal, every day. Try filling half your plate with vegetables at each meal. Serving up salads, stir fry, or other vegetable-rich fare makes it easier to reach this goal. Bonus points if you can get some fruits and vegetables at snack time, too.
3. Explore the produce aisle and choose something new. Variety is the key to a healthy diet. Get out of a rut and try some new fruits and vegetables.
4. Bag the potatoes. Choose other vegetables that are packed with more nutrients and more slowly digested carbs. Read the Carbohydrates section of The Nutrition Source to learn how to add good carbs to your diet. Or try one of these delicious whole grains recipes as an alternative to potatoes.
5. Make it a meal. Try some new healthy recipes where vegetables take center stage, such as Mollie Katzen’s asparagus with warm tarragon-pecan vinaigrette, or Nina Simonds’ spicy broccolini with red pepper.
Read more about vegetables and fruits and health.
Try these delicious vegetable recipes:
- Asparagus with Warm Tarragon–Pecan Vinaigrette
- Asparagus Spears with Mandarin Orange
- Fresh Spinach with Sesame Seeds
- Green Beans with Dried Cherries
- Green Beans with Chili Garlic Sauce
- Kale with Caramelized Onions
- Roasted Brussels Sprouts
- Roasted Beets with Balsamic Vinegar
- Roasted Balsamic Vegetables
- Ruby Chard Decorated with Itself
- Sauteed Rainbow Swiss Chard
- Spicy Broccolini with Red Pepper
- Sugar Snap Peas with Fresh Mint
- Tunisian Carrot Salad
Read why vegetables and fruits fill half of the Healthy Eating Plate, Harvard’s new guide to healthy eating.
The aim of the Harvard School of Public Health Nutrition Source is to provide timely information on diet and nutrition for clinicians, allied health professionals, and the public. The contents of this Web site are not intended to offer personal medical advice. You should seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this Web site. The information does not mention brand names, nor does it endorse any particular products.