Vegetables

Let’s celebrate National Nutrition Month by talking about vegetables!

Why do we need to eat vegetables?

  • Vegetables are an important source of nutrients including potassium, folate (folic acid), dietary fiber, vitamin A and vitamin C.
  • Eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables may protect against certain types of cancers.
  • Eating a diet of filled with fruits and vegetables can decrease your risk of heart disease including heart attack and stroke.
  • Diets rich in fiber can decrease your risk of Type 2 Diabetes and stroke.
  • Eating vegetables high in potassium can decrease your blood pressure, reduce the risk of developing kidney stones and help decrease bone loss.
  • Eating vegetables that are low in calories per cup can help lower calorie intake (instead of eating higher calorie foods).

How much vegetables do my children and I need to eat?

Daily Vegetable Table
Daily Recommendation*
Children2-3 years old1 cup
4-8 years old1 ½ cups
Girls9-13 years old2 cups
14-18 years old2 ½ cups
Boys9-13 years old2 ½ cups
14-18 years old3 cups
Women19-30 years old2 ½ cups
31-50 years old2 ½ cups
51+ years old2 cups
Men19-30 years old3 cups
31-50 years old3 cups
51+ years old2 ½ cups

So what counts as a serving of vegetables? 1 cup of raw/cooked vegetables, 1 cup of vegetable juice, or 2 cups of raw leafy greens.

Amount that counts as 1 cup of vegetableAmount that counts as 1/2 cup of vegetables
Dark Green VegetablesBroccoli1 cup, chopped or florets3 spears 5″ long raw or cooked
Greens (collards, mustard greens, turnip greens, kale)1 cup, cooked
Spinach1 cup, cooked2 cups, raw1 cup, raw
Raw leafy greens: Spinach, romaine, watercress, dark green leafy lettuce, endive, escarole2 cups, raw1 cup, raw
Red and Orange VegetablesCarrots1 cup, strips, slices, or chopped, raw or cooked
2 medium
1 cup baby carrots (about 12)
1 medium carrot
About 6 baby carrots
Pumpkin1 cup, mashed, cooked
Red peppers1 cup, chopped, raw, or cooked
1 large pepper (3″ diameter, 3 3/4″ long)
1 small pepper
Tomatoes1 large raw whole (3″)
1 cup, chopped or sliced, raw, canned, or cooked
1 small raw whole (2 1/4″ diameter)
1 medium canned
Tomato juice1 cup½ cup
Sweet potato1 large baked (2 ¼” or more diameter)
1 cup, sliced or mashed, cooked
Winter squash (acorn, butternut, hubbard)1 cup, cubed, cooked½ acorn squash, baked = ¾ cup
Beans and PeasDry beans and peas (such as black, garbanzo, kidney, pinto, or soy beans, or black-eyed peas or split peas)
 
1 cup, whole or mashed, cooked
Starchy VegetablesCorn, yellow or white1 cup
1 large ear (8″ to 9″ long)

1 small ear (about 6″ long)
Green peas1 cup
White potatoes1 cup, diced, mashed
1 medium boiled or baked potato (2 ½” to 3″ diameter)
Other VegetablesBean sprouts1 cup, cooked
Cabbage, green1 cup, chopped or shredded raw or cooked
Cauliflower1 cup, pieces or florets raw or cooked
Celery1 cup, diced or sliced, raw or cooked
2 large stalks (11″ to 12″ long)

1 large stalk (11″ to 12″ long)
Cucumbers1 cup, raw, sliced or chopped
Green or wax beans1 cup, cooked
Green peppers1 cup, chopped, raw or cooked
1 large pepper (3″ diameter, 3 ¾” long)

1 small pepper
Lettuce, iceberg or head2 cups, raw, shredded or chopped1 cup, raw, shredded or chopped
Mushrooms1 cup, raw or cooked
Onions1 cup, chopped, raw or cooked
Summer squash or zucchini1 cup, cooked, sliced or diced
image of broccoli
1/2 cup of broccoli counts as 1/2 cup serving in the Dark Green subgroup of vegetables

How do I get my kids to eat their veggies?

  • Set a good example by eating vegetables for meals and snacks
  • Let children decide which vegetables to have for dinner or which ones go into the salad
  • Depending on age, children can shop, cook, chop, or peel vegetables
  • Allow children to pick out a new vegetable while grocery shopping to try
  • Use cut up vegetables as an after school snack
  • Serve vegetables individually as rather than (2+) mixed vegetables

All information from https://www.eatright.org/food/resources/national-nutrition-month and https://www.choosemyplate.gov/