Just because you want to eat healthfully doesn’t mean you have to give up great tasting foods. In fact, some of nature’s most delicious foods are fruits! If you make a point of eating the daily recommended number of servings of fruit, you’ll enjoy your food while also maximizing your health. Who wouldn’t want that?
Daily Recommended Fruit Servings
The daily number of recommended fruit servings will vary slightly based on your age and sex. Health Canada suggests that women between the ages of 19 and 50 receive seven to eight servings of fruits and vegetables daily, while men need to aim for eight to ten servings. Men and women over 51 don’t require quite as many fruits and veggies, and only need to shoot for seven total servings each day.
You may be thinking, “Wait a minute — I only want to know how many fruit servings to shoot for, not fruits and veggies!” Health Canada doesn’t differentiate between the two, but other countries do. For instance, the Australian government recommends that men and women between 19 and 60 receive two servings of fruit daily, while the American Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends 1.5 to 2.5 cups of fruit per day.
Why the variation in Servings?
Food recommendations are based on the calories and nutrients an average person needs to consume in order to maintain her weight and health goals. Individuals who are taller, larger, more active or more muscle-y will need to consume a greater number of total daily calories than shorter, smaller or less active individuals. As your total calorie intake requirements increase or decrease, your recommended servings of fruit will also increase or decrease as a relative percentage of daily calories.
Health Canada defines a serving of fruit as “a medium fruit or a half-cup of fresh, frozen or canned fruit.” While that sounds good on paper, you probably don’t carry a measuring cup around with you all day, making it more difficult to track servings. Think of it this way instead:
- 1 serving of whole fruit or berries is approximately the size of a tennis ball
- 1 serving of dried fruit is approximately the size of an egg
The hardest fruit serving to determine is fruit juice, because most people inadvertently drink much more than a single-serving equivalent. The fact is, a serving of fruit juice is only a half cup, or 125 mL — much less than the average glass holds. The best way to grasp what a serving of fruit juice looks like is to measure 125 mL of juice in a measuring cup and pour it into your typical drinking glass. Note how much the juice fills your glass and aim to only serve yourself that much when drinking juice. Also, make sure the juice you’re drinking is 100-percent juice — it if doesn’t say “100%” on the container, then you’re basically drinking fruit-flavored sugar water.