Saturday, February 22, 2014

How to Enjoy the Recommended Daily Serving of Fruits and Vegetables

 

So you've been trying to eat right, working to fit in your "5 a day" servings of fruit and vegetables. Well, the government has some news for you: Forget five a day. More is better.

Vegetables and fruits are excellent sources of vitamins, minerals, and fiber, which are essential for health. In addition, fruits and vegetables contain a class of nutrients called “phytonutrients” that are important for fighting cancer. Nearly four thousand phytonutrients have been discovered. To get the full spectrum of these cancer “phyters,” you need to eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables from every color of the rainbow.

Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables.” “Americans just aren’t getting enough.” Chances are you’ve heard these phrases a time or two in the past. But what exactly does plenty mean? Five bowls of fruit? Six salads? Nine apples? Two sweet potatoes? How much is enough? The right amount for you depends on several factors, including age, gender, and physical activity. These characteristics determine how many fruits and vegetables you should be eating every day. To get started, check our guidelines below to find the right amount that you need to enjoy on a daily basis.

recommended-daily-serving-of-fruits-and-vegetables

What does “plenty” mean? More than most Americans consume. If you don’t count potatoes—which should be considered a starch rather than a vegetable—the average American gets a total of just three servings of fruits and vegetables a day. The latest dietary guidelines call for five to thirteen servings of fruits and vegetables a day (2½ to 6½ cups per day), depending on one’s caloric intake. For a person who needs 2,000 calories a day to maintain weight and health, this translates into nine servings, or 4½ cups per day (2 cups of fruit and 2½ cups of vegetables).

Recommended Vegetable Intake

Moderately active women and men through the age of 50 require 2 1/2 cups and 3 cups of vegetables per day, respectively, while adults over the age of 50 should reduce their daily intake by 1/2 cup. In general, 1 cup of raw or cooked vegetables counts as 1 cup toward your total daily intake. Although a cup of mashed vegetables is generally more concentrated than a cup of sliced vegetables, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) guidelines regard them as equivalent.

An 8-ounce glass of 100 percent vegetable juice also counts as 1 cup of vegetables. While a 1-cup serving of cooked dark leafy greens counts as 1 cup of vegetables toward your daily intake, 1 cup of raw dark leafy greens equates to just 1/2 cup in daily intake terms.

Recommended Fruit Intake

Moderately active women through the age of 30 and moderately active men of all ages require 2 cups of fruit per day, while women over the age of 30 should reduce their daily intake to 1 1/2 cups, according to the USDA. A 1-cup serving of raw or cooked fruit generally counts as 1 cup of fruit toward total daily intake. An 8-ounce glass of 100 percent fruit juice also counts as 1 cup of fruit. Smaller servings of dried fruit, however, count toward more of your daily intake because dried fruit is significantly higher in calories and nutrients. A 1/4-cup serving of raisins, for example, counts as 1/2 cup of fruit in daily intake terms, just as 1/2 cup of dried apricots counts as 1 cup of fruit.

How Do I Eat that Many Servings a Day? 

A 2007 study found that phytonutrients can “communicate” directly with our genes, altering genetic expression. They can suppress the response of cancer-causing genes known as oncogenes while increasing the expression of tumor-suppressor genes. Vitamin pills don’t offer these important nutrients, so you’ll want to substantially increase your intake of fruits and vegetables. Remember to eat eight to twelve servings per day. A serving is 2 cup of cooked vegetable; 1 cup of raw salad vegetables; 6 ounces of vegetable juice; 1 medium apple, pear, or other fruit; 2 cup diced, cooked, or canned fruit; or 1 cup of berries. Gradually increase your intake by one to two servings each week until you reach your goal. Try these tips to fit more fruits and vegetables into your day. Here are some helpful tips:

1) Plan to eat two or three 2-cup servings of vegetables at each meal (breakfast, lunch, and dinner). Snack on fresh fruits (or additional vegetables), and you’ll surely meet your goal.

2) Plan your meals around vegetables. Plant-based foods should fill 50 to 75 percent of your plate (with proteins and whole grains for the remainder).

3) Be adventurous by expanding your horizons. Try a new fruit or vegetable each week. Have you tried kohlrabi, beet greens, star fruit, kiwi, celeriac, jicama, parsnip, fennel, bok choy, arugula, watercress, burdock root, fava beans, taro root, or mustard greens? Your grocery may provide recipe cards. It’s easy to find recipes online if you’re unsure of how to prepare your new find.

4) Serve vegetable juices with meals and snacks for an easy way to boost your vegetable intake. Choose freshly made vegetable juice, preferably organic and low-sodium.

5) Add 2 cup of finely shredded carrots to 1 cup of salsa. The crunchy texture adds a great spark to the salsa. Or try grated zucchini or summer squash.

6) For breakfast, eat one or two eggs that are high in omega-3 (poached, boiled, or scrambled) with 1 cup of steamed green beans, spinach, arugula, kale, broccoli, zucchini, or other vegetables.

7) Make an egg scramble for breakfast. Dice or shred any combination of onions, red or green peppers, and mushrooms. Sauté the vegetables in olive oil until they are tender. Add eggs. Season with turmeric (which results in a nice yellow color), garlic, thyme, oregano, nutritional yeast, pepper, other spices, or some combination of these ingredients.

8) Make a breakfast burrito packed with pinto or black beans, onions, peppers, mushrooms, zucchini, and tomatoes.

9) Try a fruit smoothie for breakfast. In a blender, purée 2 cup of green tea (or soy, rice, or almond milk; or organic low-fat yogurt or kefir), 1 tablespoon of whey protein powder, 2 banana, 2 cup of fresh berries, 4 teaspoon of fresh lemon or orange zest, and 1 tablespoon of flaxseed meal. For variety, try mango-peach, tangerine-raspberry, pineapple-coconut, blueberry-nectarine, or any combination you desire!

10) Incorporate more green, leafy vegetables into your diet. Choose spinach, Swiss chard, collards, kale, mustard greens, arugula, young dandelion leaves, or beet or turnip greens. Serve cooked greens with scrambled eggs or tofu for breakfast. Add a bunch of chopped greens to soups, stews, or salads. Try this Brazilian healthy food recipe: Salada de Palmito- Hearts of Palm Salad. Mix chopped, cooked greens into hummus or other dips. (Fresh greens have more nutrition, but you can keep frozen spinach on hand for convenience.)

11) Serve vegetable curries (broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, carrots, yams, and Brussels sprouts are great in curry).

12) Serve fresh (or frozen) berries with plain low-fat yogurt for a snack or dessert.

13) Grate the peel and pith from a fresh organic lemon or orange, and add the zest to oatmeal, muesli, cereal, whole-grain muffins, waffles, salads, or tea.

14) Keep a bag of baby carrots, celery sticks, red pepper slices, and snap peas on hand for snacking. Serve with hummus, salsa, or bean dip.

15) Expand the variety of vegetables in your salads beyond tomatoes and cucumber. Start with a variety of leafy greens. Banish iceberg lettuce, which is nutritionally “bankrupt,” and choose romaine, red-leaf lettuce, mesclun, raw spinach, beet greens, and other dark, leafy greens. Top with ample chopped, diced, or grated vegetables. Add lots of different colors of vegetables for visual appeal. Try these vegetables in your next salad:

avocados
artichokes
beets
broccoli
broccoli sprouts
cabbage, red or green
carrots
cauliflower
celery
chayote
chickpeas
chives
daikon sprouts
eggplant, grilled
fava beans
fennel
garlic cloves, roasted
green beans
jicama
onion, red or white
parsley
peas
peppers, red or yellow
radishes
scallions
sugar snap peas
sunflower sprouts
watercress
yams, grated raw
zucchini

16) For a treat, fresh fruit is nice for salads too. Try orange slices, raspberries, apple chunks, kiwis, pomegranate pearls, red grapes, mango, or grated orange or lemon zest.

17) When baking muffins, cookies, or other treats, add grated carrots or zucchini to the recipe to boost fiber and carotenoid intake.




18) Use apple sauce or prune purée to replace half of the fat in baked goods. You can use puréed prunes (or baby-food prunes) to replace all the fat in chocolate brownies or baked goods. They add a chewy texture and a sweet flavor. Place a cup of dried, chopped, pitted prunes in a blender and add 3 tablespoons of very hot water. Blend until the prunes are smooth.

19) For a quick favorite family meal, top an organic frozen pizza with extra vegetables (onions, broccoli, red pepper, artichoke hearts, spinach, dried tomatoes).

20) For a simple dinner, try roasted vegetables. Dice onion, leek, fennel, rutabaga, turnip, yam or sweet potato, zucchini, burdock root, red pepper, portobello mushrooms, peeled whole garlic cloves, and sprigs of fresh rosemary (optional). 

21) Toss with olive oil and roast uncovered in the oven at 375°F for 1 hour. Make extra; they are delicious as leftovers.

22) Bake winter squash (acorn, butternut, or spaghetti squash). Make extra and store for a quick meal later in the week.

23) Look for organic ready-made soups with simple ingredient lists in 1-quart boxes. Serve with salad for a quick lunch or snack. Or heat it in a cup and enjoy it as a warming beverage anytime.

24) Add extra chopped vegetables and fresh minced parsley to ready-made tabbouleh.

25) Make kebabs for the grill with zucchini, yellow squash, onions, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, sweet peppers, eggplant, or pineapple wedges. (Grilling meats creates carcinogens called “HCAs” and is not recommended, but grilled vegetables are safe.)

26) Combine 1 cup of cooked brown rice with 2 cups of diced vegetables (onions, carrots, zucchini, red peppers, mushrooms, or others). Season with garlic, thyme, and basil. Use this mixture to stuff bell peppers, cabbage rolls, and portobello mushrooms or squash halves. Bake until fragrant and tender.

27) Prepare a big pot of homemade soup or stew (double the vegetables in the recipe) and a salad or vegetable casserole over the weekend. Later in the week, when you don’t feel like cooking, a healthy meal is ready and waiting for you.

28) If you eat organic meats, consider marinating them in fruit juices (try pomegranate, raspberry, or cranberry) or concentrated fruit purées (soak dried apricots or prunes in water to cover, and then purée in the blender). Add rosemary, garlic, ginger, black pepper, thyme, oregano, or other spices. Marinate overnight. Or try mixing 4 cup of mashed blueberries or prune purée in each pound of ground bison (or organic, low-fat beef) for juicy burgers.

29) When eating out, ask to have an extra serving or two of vegetables (without sauce) instead of bread, potatoes, or rice. And load up with lots of raw veggies at the salad bar, like dark-green lettuces (avoid iceberg) and spinach.

30) Find yourself at a fast-food restaurant. Choose a salad and a baked potato topped with salsa.

31) Add extra vegetables to soups, either homemade or canned.

32) Make a quick “pasta salad” by adding 2 cups of cooked whole-grain rice, quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat, or other grain to 4 cups of diced vegetables and 2 cup of chopped fresh parsley. Make it as colorful as possible. Season with garlic, black pepper, and basil, and dress with olive oil and vinegar or lemon juice.




33) For convenience, look to ready-to-eat (washed, peeled, sliced, grated, or some combination), packaged vegetables at the market. Or set aside some time on the weekend to wash and prepare vegetables for the upcoming week. Having containers of chopped onions, grated carrots, sliced zucchini, and other prepared vegetables on hand simplifies preparation of healthy meals.

34) Put extra vegetables in spaghetti sauce. Try shredded carrots, onions, chopped spinach, roasted eggplant, mushrooms, or some combination of these ingredients.

35) Make a stir-fry for dinner once a week. Cook a diverse assortment of vegetables over medium heat in 1/3 cup of broth and 1 tablespoon of olive oil (add a dash of sesame oil to jazz up the flavor).

36) Bake an apple, quince, or pear for dessert. Core the fruit, stuff the center with a combination of uncooked rolled or steel-cut oats, cinnamon, chopped walnuts, and 1 tablespoon of raisins or currants. Bake at 375°F for about 45 minutes (the aroma will tell you when it’s done).

What is a Serving?

The new pyramid recommends fruits and vegetables in cups instead of servings because it is easier to figure out how much you need. Servings are typically measured by the 1/2 cup and cup, and can be tallied up to obtain a total for each day. The goal is to match the number of fruit and vegetable servings actually consumed each day with the total cup number recommended from the above guidelines. For most fruits and vegetables, one half cup represents a serving (including fresh, frozen, and 100% juice). A few exceptions include leafy greens, in which the serving is a full cup, and dried fruit, in which the serving is 1/4 cup. Setting all detailed, specific servings aside, the bottom line is to meet your daily cup totals for fruits and vegetables.

What Exactly Does a Cup Look Like?

A lot of fruits and vegetables, especially those that have been cut or chopped, are easy to measure. If it helps, dig those measuring cups out from the back of the drawer, give the fruit or vegetable in question a measure, and you’ve got your reference point. Generally speaking, for the uncut, a large piece of fruit (banana, grapefruit, apple) or vegetable (medium sweet potato, large ear of corn, bell pepper) is the equivalent of a cup. 

Salpicão Salada- Chicken and Potato Salad- Brazilian Food Recipes

 

Salpicão can be wonderful when it's homemade and light. It is a traditional chicken salad from Brazil. It is a great summer food and comes in handy when you are a bit pressed for time and want to make something great for a summer pot luck. In this case, prepare all of the ingredients and put them in separate containers to transport and combine them all into the serving dish when ready to serve.

When making this creamy salad, most Brazilian cooks include hearts of palm, which come from the stems of certain palm trees. Hearts of palm are available canned in most grocery stores, but if you have trouble finding them, the salad is just as tasty without them. Also, to save time you may want to use a cup or two of packaged shoestring potatoes instead of frying your own. I have tried buying at Amazon.com and I'm satisfied. If you don't have time, buy it at Native Forest Organic Hearts of Palm. This is the bestselling brand.

Heart of palm, also called palm heart, chonta, palm cabbage or swamp cabbage, is a vegetable harvested from the inner core and growing bud of certain palm trees (notably the coconut (Cocos nucifera), Palmito Juçara (Euterpe edulis), Açaí palm (Euterpe oleracea), sabal (Sabal spp.) and pejibaye (Bactris gasipaes) palms). Harvesting of many non-cultivated or wild single-stemmed palms results in palm tree death (e.g. Geonoma edulis). However, other palm species are clonal or multi-stemmed plants (e.g. Prestoea acuminata, Euterpe oleracea) and moderate harvesting will not kill the entire clonal palm. Heart of palm may be eaten on its own, and often it is eaten in a salad.

As of 2008, Costa Rica is the primary source of fresh palm hearts in the United States. Peach palm is also cultivated in Hawaii, and now has limited distribution on the mainland, primarily to the restaurant trade. Florida's wild Sabal palmetto or cabbage palm was once a source of hearts of palm but is now protected by conservation law.

Brazil was the highest producer of uncultivated hearts of palm, but in the 1990s its quality went down - mostly because of unsustainable poaching for stems (called colete, Portuguese for "vest") of the main producing species, Euterpe edulis - which is now considered as threatened with extinction in the wild. This left the market open for Ecuador to export its cultivated hearts of palm. Ecuador is now one of the main producers of hearts of palm. France is the largest importer of hearts of palm.

What is Hearts of Palm Taste Like?

Hard to describe what they taste like. They kind of look like white asparagus minus the tips. The texture is crisp without the 'crunch'.  They are soft, yet firm to the touch, and have a mild sweetness. The is flavor similar to artichokes for some culinary experts it is delicately flavored resembling white asparagus for others.

How to Select Hearts of Palm

Choose moist, intact hearts of palm that are unblemished. Avoid or discard bruised or overly soft stalks.

How to Store Hearts of Palm

Fresh hearts of palm should be refrigerated immediately. Unused, tightly sealed portions can be stored for up to 2 weeks. Store cans or jars out of sunlight at room temperature. Once opened, use within 1 week.

Watch Video: How It's Made Hearts of Palm

When harvesting the cultivated young palm, the tree is cut down and the bark is removed leaving layers of white fibers around the center core. During processing the fibers are removed leaving the center core or heart of palm. The center core is attached to a slightly more fibrous cylindrical base with a larger diameter. The entire cylindrical center core and the attached base are edible. The center core is considered more of a delicacy because of its lower fiber content.

salpicão-salada-chicken-and-potato-salad-brazilian-food-recipes

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Serves 6


INGREDIENTS:

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. salt
1\2 tsp. pepper
4 slices of lean cooked ham, cut into thin strips (deli-sliced ham works well)
1\2 c. fresh or frozen and thawed green peas
2 large carrots, coarsely grated or
cut into short, thin sticks
1 green apple, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 c. canned hearts of palm, drained and chopped into 1\2-inch pieces
1\ 2 c. regular or reduced-fat mayonnaise
3 medium potatoes
vegetable oil for frying


PROCEDURE:

1) Wash chicken under cool running water and pat dry. Cut into 1/2-inch cubes.

2) In a heavy saucepan or skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken, salt, and pepper and cook 10 to 15 minutes, or until chicken is lightly browned and cooked all the way through. Remove from heat.

3) In a large bowl, combine the chicken, ham, peas, carrots, apple, and hearts of palm. Add mayonnaise and mix well.

4) Wash and peel potatoes. Grate or cut potatoes into long, thin strips. Pour about an inch of vegetable oil into a large frying pan or stockpot and heat to 350˚F, or until a drop of water flicked into the pan jumps out.

5) Carefully place potatoes in oil with a slotted spoon. (If they don’t all fit, you can fry them in two or three batches.) Fry 10 to 12 minutes, stirring gently.

6) When potatoes are golden brown, remove from oil with a slotted spoon and place on paper towels to drain.

7) Just before serving, stir most of the potatoes into the salad and sprinkle a few on top.


Try other Brazilian healthy food recipes:


Quick Cooking Tips

After handling raw chicken or other poultry, always remember to thoroughly wash your hands, utensils, and preparation area with hot, soapy water. Also, when checking chicken for doneness, it’s a good idea to cut it open gently to make sure the meat is white (not pink) all the way through.

Cooking with hot oil is simple and safe as long as you’re careful and an adult is present. Be sure to use long-handled utensils whenever possible. Stand as far back from the stove as you can and place potatoes into oil slowly to avoid splattering.


CALORIE COUNTER:

Chicken, Meat Only, Roasted
chicken, chicken breast, meat

B- Grade
266 Calories

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 cup, chopped or diced (140 g)

Per Serving

% Daily Value
Calories 266

Calories from Fat 93

Total Fat 10.4g
16%
Saturated Fat 2.9g
14%
Polyunsaturated Fat 2.4g

Monounsaturated Fat 3.7g

Cholesterol 125mg
42%
Sodium 120mg
5%
Potassium 340mg
10%
Carbohydrates 0.0g
0%
Dietary Fiber 0.0g
0%
Sugars 0.0g

Protein 40.5g

Vitamin A
1%
Vitamin C
0%
Calcium
2%
Iron
9%


Potatoes, French Fried
Frozen, Home-prepared, Heated In Oven, Without Salt
french fries, potatoes

B+ Grade
67 Calories

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 10 strips (50 g)

Per Serving

% Daily Value
Calories 67

Calories from Fat 23

Total Fat 2.6g
4%
Saturated Fat 0.5g
3%
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.2g

Monounsaturated Fat 1.6g

Cholesterol 0mg
0%
Sodium 194mg
8%
Potassium 226mg
6%
Carbohydrates 13.9g
5%
Dietary Fiber 1.4g
6%
Sugars 0.1g

Protein 1.3g

Vitamin A
0%
Vitamin C
11%
Calcium
1%
Iron
2%

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