Healthy eating? Lots of vegetables, of course!
But how much is enough?
Canada’s Food Guide
Let’s start from the golden standard Canada’s Food Guide.
For an adult female (age 19~50), 7 to 8 servings. For an adult male, 8 to 10.
1 serving is a half cup of broccoli, carrots, zucchini, squash, cucumber, etc or a cup of leafy green such as lettuce and Kale. You can include fresh fruit and fruit juice but due to the high sugar content, you should go with the moderate amount of them.
A sample daily veggie & fruit consumption:
- a glass of green smoothie (1 to 2 servings)
- a large bowl of salad (2 to 3 servings)
- a bowl of veggie soup (1 to 3 servings)
- an apple (1 servings)
- maybe a few more servings if salad and soup are not big enough?
Don’t forget more food such as carbohydrates and protein on the top. You have to have a big stomach…
It seems the US recommendation is not as challenging as Canada’s.
They say someone who needs 2000 calories a day should eat 2 cups of fruits and 2.5 cups of vegetables. The website shows the sample pictures of recommended daily servings.
Germany recommends even less than that.
Their one portion of vegetable is 3 tablespoons (45cc, less than ¼ cup) or a cereal bowl of salad (1 to 2 cups of greens, depending on how you pack). They say 5 portions a day, which means ½ cup of cooked carrots, ½ cup of cooked peas and one banana for example, should be sufficient. Hey, it is getting more realistic, isn’t it?
Japan recommends the daily consumption of 350g vegetables and 200g fruits or more. This is like:
- 2 handfuls of snow peas
- ½ medium tomato
- a cereal bowl of salad
- 10 baby carrots
- 4 medium size Shiitake mushrooms
- an apple
Are you confused enough? Why does every country say a different thing?
We need to keep in mind the nutritious value of local vegetables and fruits in each country may not be the same.
The nutritious value of food varies due to soil and water type, climate, production method and so on. The same variety of carrot grown in Canada and Japan won’t contains the same amount of vitamins and minerals. I assume each country calculates the necessary servings based on the nutritious data of local produces.
Another factor is the racial diversity.
Our body is genetically adapted to the traditional diet. A Caucasian is adapted to the meat-and-potato while Japanese to the rice-and-miso soup.
Everyone Is Different
After all, our body is all unique. The age, life style, stress level etc also affect on the need of it.
However, regardless your unique condition, it is quite unlikely you eat too much vegetable.
Unless someone has food allergy or other dietary restriction, I always encourage people to eat wide variety of veggies as much as possible.
For more value from each bite, look for local produces.
Talk with the producer if possible to see what they care about.
Likely those who are more conscious about the possible sequences of industrial agriculture provide safer and better quality food.
The volume of some daily recommended servings may not be quite realistic to for some people, so at least be more cautious about the quality of food you eat.