Why do we need to be more fruit forward? Americans fall far short of their daily fruit recommendations with approximately 80% of us not meeting the goal. The 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans encourages whole fruits and 100% fruit juice. Whole fruits are not just limited to fresh fruits but include canned, frozen and dried fruits.
How much fruit you need to consume each day is driven by your age, sex and how much you activity you get each day. MyPlate will calculate your daily goal. In general, one serving of fruit is equal to 1 piece of fruit, 1 cup of fruit or 100% fruit juice or 1/2 cup of dried fruit. MyPlate Fruit has a Cup of Fruit Table that has more detailed portion sizes.
- Half or more of your fruit servings should be in there form of whole fruit, rather than 100% fruit juice.
- Juices should be pasteurized or 100% diluted with water (without added sugars)
- Canned fruit is optimally packed in 100% juice or options with the lowest amount of added sugars. For example no heavy syrup.
Most fruits are naturally low in fat, sodium and calories and none have cholesterol. Eating the recommended amount of both fruits and vegetables may reduce your risk for heart disease including heart attack and stroke. It may also protect against certain types of cancers. Fruit is rich in fiber which helps to keep you fuller longer, keeps your GI tract moving along and your gut bacteria at a healthy high. It also contains potassium which promotes muscle contraction, including your heart and helps keep electrolytes that we typically consume too much of, like sodium, in balance. Both fiber and potassium are gap nutrients that Americans don’t get enough of. Fruits are also rich in Vitamins A, C and phytochemicals all of which help to build a healthy immune system.
Which fruits do Americans eat the most? Bananas, apples, grapes and oranges according to data from Statista. Always rinse your fruit well before eating it.
Tips for Eating More Fruit
Most of us can benefit from eating more fruit and here are simple strategies to get you headed in a more fruit forward direction.
- Buy a variety of whole, canned and 100% fruit juice when you grocery shop so that you have a variety of options throughout the week without spoilage.
- Keep whole fruit in site. You are more apt to reach for fruit as a snack if it’s in view.
- Make half your plate fruits and vegetables. This can be hard to do when you’re short on time so making it easier by having washed, cut fruit like melon, berries or chilled grapes ready to go.
- Have a pitcher of fruit infused water readily accessible in your refrigerator. Lemons, limes, oranges, strawberries and pineapple are all refreshing additions to tap water and highly cost effective.
- Get creative. Roasted red grapes with cinnamon, grilled watermelon with feta, baked apples, citrus salsa with cilantro and fruit kabobs are easy to make and a nice side dish to any meal.