Wellness Health & Well-being Here's How Much Fruit and Vegetables You Should Be Eating Every Day By Melissa Breyer Editorial Director Hunter College F.I.T., State University of New York Cornell University Melissa Breyer is Treehugger’s editorial director. She is a sustainability expert and author whose work has been published by the New York Times and National Geographic, among others. our editorial process Melissa Breyer Updated April 10, 2019 istetiana / Getty Images Share Twitter Pinterest Email Wellness Health & Well-being Clean Beauty Only 1 in 10 Americans meets the federal fruit and vegetable recommendations; here's what to aim for. According to the CDC, in 2015 only 12 percent of Americans met the recommendations for eating fruit, and just nine percent ate enough vegetables – even though eating enough fruits and vegetables as part of an overall healthy diet reduces the risk of many chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, and obesity. So, how much is enough? The federal guidelines used to be shown in a pyramid and recommendations were described in servings, which could sometimes be complicated since one serving could mean, for example, a whole piece of medium sized fruit or 1/2 cup of canned fruit or 3/4 cup of fruit juice. One practically needed a spreadsheet and a calculator to keep track. With the more recent introduction of the MyPlate graphic, it's a little bit easier. The idea is to fill half of one's plate with fruit and vegetables; and the serving sizes have been simplified to cups. (But since most of us don't always have a measuring cup on hand, it can still be a bit tricky. I generally try to visualize my favorite 1-cup scoop, which is a bit smaller than my fist, and take it from there.) As for how much to eat, the recommendations vary by age and gender; these are amounts for those who get less than 30 minutes per day of moderate physical activity, beyond normal daily activities. Daily fruit recommendation Women 19 to 30 years old: 2 cupsWomen 31+ years old: 1 1⁄2 cupsMen 19 years old and up: 2 cups Daily vegetable recommendation: Women 19 to 30 years old: 2 1⁄2 cupsWomen 31 to 50 years old: 2 1⁄2 cupsWomen 51+ years old: 2 cupsMen 19 to 30 years old: 3 cupsMen 31 to 50 years old: 3 cupsMen 51+ years old: 2 1⁄2 cups What one cup means Now here's where it can get a little confusing again, because a cup isn't always a cup. FRUITIn general, but not always, one cup of fruit or 1⁄2 cup of dried fruit can be considered as 1 cup from the Fruit Group. Any fruit or 100 percent fruit juice counts (though remember that juice lacks the fiber of whole fruits). 1 small apple (21⁄4" diameter) = 1 cup-equivalent1 large banana (8-9" long) = 1 cup-equivalent1⁄2 cup of fruit cocktail = 1⁄2 cup-equivalent1⁄2 medium grapefruit (4" diameter) = 1⁄2 cup-equivalent1 medium bunch of grapes (about 50 grapes) = 11⁄2 cup-equivalents1 medium mango = 1 cup-equivalent1 small orange (approx. 21⁄2" diameter) = 1⁄2 cup-equivalent1⁄2 cup of 100% orange juice (4 fluid ounces) = 1⁄2 cup-equivalent1⁄2 large peach (23⁄4" diameter) = 1⁄2 cup-equivalent2 large plums (21⁄2" diameter each) = 1 cup-equivalent1⁄4 cup of raisins = 1⁄2 cup-equivalent VEGETABLESAny vegetable or 100 percent vegetable juice counts; vegetables may be raw or cooked; fresh, frozen, canned, or dried/dehydrated; and may be whole, cut-up, or mashed. Within the vegetable group, there are sub-groups, of which you should strive to eat a mix of all: Dark-green vegetables; red and orange vegetables; starchy vegetables; beans and peas (which can also satisfy protein requirements), and other vegetables. The equivalents are often equal, but not always. 1⁄2 cup of black beans (cooked) = 1⁄2 cup-equivalent1⁄2 cup of broccoli = 1⁄2 cup-equivalent1 cup of baby carrots = 1 cup-equivalent1⁄2 cup of cauliflower = 1⁄2 cup-equivalent1⁄2 cup of corn = 1⁄2 cup-equivalent1⁄2 cup of green beans (cooked) = 1⁄2 cup-equivalent1⁄2 cup of kidney beans (cooked) = 1⁄2 cup-equivalent1 cup of iceberg lettuce = 1⁄2 cup-equivalent1 cup of romaine lettuce = 1⁄2 cup-equivalent1⁄2 cup of mushrooms = 1⁄2 cup-equivalent2 slices of onion (raw) = 1⁄4 cup-equivalent1⁄2 cup of pinto beans (cooked) = 1⁄2 cup-equivalent1 medium baked or boiled potato (21⁄2-3" diameter) = 1 cup-equivalent1 cup of baby spinach (raw) = 1⁄2 cup-equivalent1 large baked sweet potato (21⁄4" diameter) = 1 cup-equivalent1⁄2 cup of 100% tomato juice (4 fluid ounces) = 1⁄2 cup-equivalent1⁄2 cup of tomatoes (raw) = 1⁄2 cup-equivalent1⁄2 cup of zucchini = 1⁄2 cup-equivalent So there you go. I am not sure if this is all super easy or a bit complicated – though the plate graphic does give a good visual guide. But the bottom line is this: Eat a lot of fruits and vegetables. For more, visit the MyPlate site and/or browse the related stories below.