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Fruits & Veggies—More Matters™ Program Information

Program Information

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Why fruits and vegetables?

Get more…because more matters!

There are so many reasons to eat fruits and vegetables every day.  Fruits and veggies are packed full of disease-fighting vitamins, minerals, fiber, phytochemicals, antioxidants, and complex carbohydrates.  And they’re naturally low in calories, sodium, are cholesterol and virtually fat-free.  A balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables matters in maintaining a healthy weight, and may reduce your risk of many diseases!

Every step taken towards eating more fruits and veggies and getting more physical activity helps families be at their best! Here are some of the benefits of the many nutrients found in fruits and vegetables:

Nutrient What it does Some Sources
Fiber Diets rich in fiber have been shown to have a variety of benefits including reduced risk of coronary artery disease.  Fiber can also make you feel full, which may help you to eat less and lose weight. Artichokes
Black beans
Black-eyed peas
Chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
Kidney beans
Lima beans
Navy beans
Pinto beans
Folate (Folic Acid) Folate may help to reduce your risk of heart disease.  Healthful diets with adequate folic acid have also been shown to reduce a woman’s risk of having a child with a brain or spinal cord defect. Asparagus
Black-eyed peas
Cooked spinach
Great Northern beans
Potassium Diets rich in potassium may help maintain healthful blood pressure. Beet greens
Carrot juice
Cooked greens
Lima beans
Sweet potatoes
Tomato paste
Tomato puree
White beans
White potatoes
Vitamin A Helps keep eyes and skin healthy; helps to protect against infections. Cantaloupe
Collard greens
Mustard greens
Red peppers
Sweet potatoes
Turnip greens
Winter squash
Vitamin C Helps heal cuts and wounds; keeps teeth and gums healthy. Broccoli
Brussels sprouts
Green peppers
Red pepper
Sweet potatoes
Tomato juice

Get more…because more matters! Click here to download the new 9-page full-color handout!

Benefits of Fruits and Vegetables

Trying to lose weight?  Remember, calories count!

How can you lose weight healthfully and keep it off?  Think calories! 

What is a calorie?
Calories are really just a measure of energy.  A calorie is defined as the amount of energy it takes to raise the temperature of 1 gram of water (about a thimble full) by 1 degree Celsius. 

So what does this mean for nutrition?  Simply put, calories are in food, and they provide energy to the body.  The problem comes when there is an imbalance of energy—too much energy in and not enough energy out.

Calories Count!
To lose weight, you have to create an energy deficit in your body.  One pound of body fat is equal to 3,500 calories.  Therefore, losing one pound requires a deficit of 3,500 calories.  So, to lose one pound per week, you’d have to decrease your calories by 500 per day; to lose two pounds per week, you’d have to decrease your calories by 1,000 per day.

To create a calorie deficit, you can either:
1.  Decrease your calorie intake, OR
2.  Increase your calorie (energy) output through exercise.

Exercise Helps Burn Calories
Physical activity is very important to maintaining good health, and it helps to burn calories.  Many people don’t realize how easy it is to burn calories and create an energy deficit by adding physical activity to their daily routine.

The total number of calories you burn depends on your weight, the activity you choose, and the intensity level of your activity.  If you exercise at a higher intensity level, you will burn more calories.

Consider the following averages for a person weighing 175 pounds:

30 minutes of… Burns this many calories…
Sitting or watching TV 42
Bowling 57
Volleyball 120
Gardening 171
Walking 183
Step aerobics (4 inch bench) 198
Hiking 201
Golf (carry clubs/walk) 210
Skating (ice and roller) 264
Tennis 267
Running/jogging 306
Racquetball 315
Basketball 318
Stairmaster 366
Dance (high intensity) 372
Swimming (breast stroke) 375
Aerobics (traditional) 402
Weight training (circuit) 411


Fruits & Veggies—More Matters™ Tips

Tips for eating a more colorful diet

Fruits and Veggies - More Matters Logo

Tips for eating a more colorful diet

Use these easy, fun tips to help you eat a colorful variety of fruits and vegetables every day!



  • Stir low-fat or fat-free granola into a bowl of low-fat or fat-free yogurt.  Top with sliced apples or berries.
  • Add strawberries, blueberries, or bananas to your waffles, pancakes, cereal, oatmeal or toast.
  • Top toasted whole-grain bread with peanut butter and sliced bananas.
  • Add vegetables like bell peppers, broccoli, spinach, mushrooms or tomatoes to your eggs or your egg white omelet.
  • Make a fruit smoothie using bananas, frozen blueberries or peaches, and low-fat or fat-free yogurt.
  • Have fruit as a mid-morning snack.

Try making Savory Apple Sausage:
Mix one large finely chopped apple with a pound of lean ground turkey.  Season with sage and rosemary and shape into patties.  Cook in a nonstick skillet over medium heat on each side until internal temperature reaches 165o F.

Lunch and Supper

  • Ask for more vegetable toppings (mushrooms, peppers, onions, tomatoes) and less cheese on your pizza.
  • Add some cooked dry beans to your salad.  If you have a sweet tooth, add chopped apples, pears or raisins.
  • Add broccoli, green beans, corn or peas to a casserole or pasta.
  • Add lettuce, tomato, onion and cucumber to sandwiches.
  • Order salads, vegetable soups or stir-fried vegetables when eating out.
  • Broil sliced vegetables like zucchini, bell peppers, eggplant and tomatoes for just a few minutes until they begin to blacken around the edges.  Serve warm with a low-calorie dressing of lemon juice, low-fat or fat-free mayonnaise and black pepper.
  • Choose beans, corn on the cob or a side salad with low-calorie dressing instead of French fries.
  • Try eating at least 2 vegetables with dinner.
  • Have soup.  You can stick with the basics like tomato or vegetable soup, or mix up some minestrone or vegetable chili.  When possible, choose soups with less sodium.
  • Open and rinse cans of kidney beans, wax beans, green beans, and chickpeas, and toss with a low-fat or fat-free vinaigrette for an ultra-fast bean salad.

Try making Very Vegetable Lasagna:
Take your favorite lasagna recipe and try adding different combinations of your favorite veggies between the layers.  Try mushrooms, spinach, carrots, broccoli, zucchini, onions and eggplant.  Be creative!


  • Try hummus (made with chickpeas) on whole wheat pitas.
  • Snack on veggies like carrots, bell pepper strips, fresh green beans or celery with low-fat or fat-free ranch dip.  Store cleaned, cut vegetables in the fridge at eye level and keep low-fat or fat-free dip on hand.
  • Try baked tortilla chips with black bean and corn salsa.
  • Keep a bowl of fruit on your desk or counter.
  • Stash bags of dried fruit at your desk for a convenient snack.

Try making Easy Bean Quesadillas:
Spread low-fat cheese and fat-free refried beans between two tortillas, and brown on both sides in a pan until the cheese melts.

Find more helpful tips on making fruits and veggies part of every eating occasion at!

*Recipe ideas developed for Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC). These recipes meet Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) and Produce for Better Health (PBH) nutrition standards that maintain fruits and vegetables as healthy foods.

The Colors of Health

The colors of health

Getting a colorful variety of fruits and vegetables every day is important!

Because colorful fruits and vegetables provide a wide range of vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytochemicals!  Your body uses these to help you maintain a healthy weight, protect against the effects of aging, and reduce your risk of:

  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Some cancers

It’s important to eat all your colors every day to get the variety of vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytochemicals you need to stay healthy and fit!

What are vitamins and minerals?
Natural substances in a wide variety of foods, long recognized as essential to maintaining health.

What are phytochemicals?
Natural plant compounds that work together with vitamins, minerals and fiber to provide a variety of health benefits.  Many of the bright colors in fruits and vegetables come from phytochemical pigments.

What are antioxidants?
Plant substances that help protect cells from free radical damage (the by-product of normal metabolism).  Over time, free radical damage can lead to a number of diseases associated with aging.


BLUE and PURPLE fruits and vegetables contain anthocyanins and phenolics, antioxidant pigments that are currently being studied for their anti-aging benefits.

Including BLUE and PURPLE in your low-fat diet helps you maintain:

  • A lower risk of some cancers
  • Urinary tract health
  • Memory function
  • Healthy aging

BLUE and PURPLE fruits and vegetables include:

Fruits Vegetables Beans & Peas (legumes)
Black Currants
Dried Plums
Purple Figs
Purple Grapes
Purple Asparagus
Purple Cabbage
Purple Carrots
Purple Peppers
Purple Potatoes
Black Beans
Black Soybeans
Fava Beans

GREEN fruits and vegetables contain indoles and lutein, antioxidants that have potential health-promoting benefits.

Including GREEN in your low-fat diet helps you maintain:

  • Vision health
  • A lower risk of some cancers
  • Strong bones and teeth

GREEN fruits and vegetables include:

Fruits Vegetables Beans & Peas (legumes)
Green Apples
Green Grapes
Green Pears
Brussels Sprouts
Chinese Cabbage
Green Beans
Green Cabbage
Leafy Greens
Green Onions
Green Peas
Green Peppers
Snow Peas
Green Lentils
Green Split Peas

WHITE fruits and vegetables contain many phytochemicals that are of interest to researchers for health benefits, including allicin (found in garlic and onions).

Including WHITE in your low-fat diet helps you maintain:

  • Heart health
  • Healthy cholesterol levels
  • A lower risk of some cancers

WHITE fruits and vegetables include:

Fruits Vegetables Beans & Peas (legumes)
Brown Pears
White Nectarines
White Peaches

Jerusalem Artichokes
White Corn
White Potatoes

Brown Lentils
Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans)
White Beans (Navy Beans, Great Northern Beans)

YELLOW and ORANGE fruits and vegetables contain antioxdants like vitamin C as well as carotenoids and bioflavonoids, two classes of phytochemicals that scientists are studying for their health-promoting potential.

Including YELLOW and ORANGE in your low-fat diet helps you maintain:

  • Heart health
  • Vision health
  • A healthy immune system
  • A lower risk of some cancers

YELLOW and ORANGE fruits and vegetables include:

Fruits Vegetables Beans & Peas (legumes)
Carambola (Star Fruit)
Golden Kiwifruit
Yellow Apples
Yellow Figs
Yellow Pears
Yellow Watermelon
Butternut Squash
Spaghetti Squash
Sweet Corn
Sweet Potatoes
Yellow Beets
Yellow Potatoes
Yellow Summer Squash
Yellow Tomatoes
Yellow Winter Squash
Yellow/Orange Peppers
Yellow Lentils
Yellow Split Peas

RED fruits and vegetables contain lycopene and other phytochemicals that are being studied for their health-promoting potential.

Including RED in your low-fat diet helps you maintain:

  • Heart health
  • Memory function
  • A lower risk of some cancers
  • Urinary tract health

RED fruits and vegetables include:

Fruits Vegetables Beans & Peas (legumes)
Red Apples
Blood Oranges
Red Grapes
Pink/Red Grapefruit
Red pears
Red Peppers
Red Onions
Red Potatoes
Pink or Red Beans (Kidney Beans, Pinto Beans, Red Beans)
Red Lentils

What Counts as a Cup?

fruits & veggies more matters

What Counts as a Cup?

So what exactly does a cup of fruits and vegetables look like? One cup refers to a common measuring cup (the kind you use to measure food for recipes). Remember that all product forms count - fresh, frozen, canned, dried, and 100% juice. Generally, 1 cup of raw or cooked vegetables, 1 cup of 100% vegetable juice, or 2 cups of raw leafy greens are equal to one cup from the vegetable group. You can count 1 cup of fruit, 1 cup of 100% fruit juice, or 1/2 cup of dried fruit as one cup from the fruit group.

Remember—all product forms count, including fresh, frozen, canned, dried, and 100% juice. Here are some examples of what a cup and ½ cup of fruits and vegetables looks like:


1 Cup:

  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 1 large ear of corn
  • 12 raw baby carrots
  • 1 large bell pepper
  • 1 medium potato
  • 2 cups of fresh spinach

1/2 Cup:

  • 5 broccoli florets
  • 6 raw baby carrots
  • 1/2 cup cooked green beans
  • 1 cup fresh spinach
  • 5-6 stalks asparagus
  • 5-6 celery sticks


1 Cup:

  • 1 small apple
  • 1 medium grapefruit
  • 1 large orange
  • 1 medium pear
  • 1 small wedge watermelon
  • 8-oz glass of 100% orange juice

1/2 Cup:

  • 16 grapes
  • 1/2 medium grapefruit
  • 4 large strawberries
  • 1 large plum
  • 1 small box of raisins
  • 1 snack container of applesauce
  • 4-oz glass of 100% orange juice

How many cups do you need every day? To find out the official recommendation based on your individual needs, visit


Get More!

fruits & veggies more matters

Fruits & Veggies—More Matters™ resources

Click on these links for more information and resources on fruits and vegetables!

The Produce for Better Health Foundation (PBH)

The Produce for Better Health Foundation (PBH) is a non-profit foundation representing members of the produce industry. Their website,, has loads of information and resources, as well as recipes, tips, and fun activities for kids and families!

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is the government partner of this national program. Their website has great info for consumers and professionals, as well as recipes and tips to help you get more fruits and veggies every day!