Everyone reminds us to take 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day. But how much corresponds to a portion of plant foods? Which fruits and vegetables to choose in each season? Are frozen products valid? Does drinking a fruit juice equal to taking a portion of fruit? How to choose a good fruit juice? Can I replace a portion with a vegetable extract?
An average portion of fruit corresponds to: 150g apples, pears, bananas or 200g strawberries, berries, apricots, plums, peaches, snowshoes, cherries, pineapples, mango or 300g melon or watermelon. More simply we can consider as a portion a medium fruit, two small fruits or a fruit bowl. An average portion of vegetables corresponds to 250g, raw weight net of waste. The exception is the salad, the recommended portion of which is 50g. For convenience we remember: vegetables should occupy half of your dish with each meal.
The advantages of choosing seasonal fruits and vegetables are countless. Seasoned vegetables are more nutritious, cheaper and less polluted! Frozen vegetables are a good alternative for those who return late from work, for those who do not like to cook and for the super-busy.
A recent analysis by the UK Institute of Food showed that frozen vegetables are safe and nutritionally equal if not better than fresh vegetables, as they are frozen within hours of harvesting, without nutrient loss. However, if we decide to introduce frozen vegetables into the diet, we should avoid all products that contain condiments or sauces, choosing exclusively products that contain 100% vegetables and verifying the provenance of the product we are purchasing.
Homemade extracts and centrifuges are a great choice, also convenient to take to work as a mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack. They lose many vitamins if left in contact with air, light and heat. It is important to consume at once the freshly prepared centrifuge/extract/juice. If we want to take it to work, it must be stored in a dark bottle, well closed and refrigerated for up to a day, to reduce nutrient loss.
Remember to vary the choices, choosing fruits and vegetables of different colors to take all the nutrients we need:
- WHITE: garlic, cauliflower, onion, fennel, apples, pears, celery. They contain polyphenols, flavonoids, sulfide compounds (onion and garlic), potassium, vitamin C, selenium.
- YELLOW: citrus fruits, melon, apricots, peaches, snowshoes, carrots, peppers, pumpkin. They contain flavonoids, carotenoids and vitamin C.
- RED: tomatoes, turnips, radishes, peppers, beets, watermelon, red oranges, cherries, strawberries. They contain lycopene and anthocyanins, substances with antioxidant and anticancer properties.
- GREEN: asparagus, chard, broccoli, cabbage, artichokes, cucumbers, fresh herbs, kiwi, salads, spinach, zucchini. They contain chlorophyll, magnesium, vitamin C, folic acid and lutein.
- BLUE: carrots and purple potatoes, eggplant, radicchio, figs, berries, plums, black grapes. They contain anthocyanins, carotenoids, vitamin C, potassium and magnesium.
Let’s start taking our 5 daily portions now!