Experts Recommend 5-9 Servings of Fruits and Vegetables Per Day
19 Easy Ways to Get Your 9 Servings Per Day
Healthy Diet Means 10 Portions of Fruits and Vegetables Per Day, Not Five
So why is this bad advice?
Instead of the saying, "Eat your fruits and veggies" it should actually be "Eat your fruits" and "Eat your veggies." The problem comes when you combine the two. Especially when that advice is what we teach our children. If these two food groups are lumped together - like they almost always are - and you have the option to eat sweet fruit versus slightly bitter greens like kale or arugala, which are you going to choose? Which are your children going to choose?
The difference between eating 9 bananas in a day versus 9 cups of broccoli is pretty significant.
My advice would be that you aim for a minimum of 5 servings of vegetables per day...and preferably non-starchy varieties. So that means things like broccoli, cauliflower, various greens (kale, spinach, chard, romaine), carrots, sprouts, jicama, celery, onion, garlic and so on. I know things like avocado, tomatoes, peppers, and squash are technically fruit but for the sake of getting nutrient dense, low calorie foods we will call them fair game for your 5 servings per day.
As far as the popular advice out there that says you should eat 9 servings of "fruits and vegetables" per day...that total number is fine in my opinion. If you want to eat more that - even better. I would always strive though to keep your veggie to fruit ratio to be 2:1. So take the 5 servings of non-starchy veggies, add in maybe a sweet potato or regular potato and that gives you 6 servings of veggies. Go ahead and eat three servings of fruit to get that that 9 number! Some advice on fruit selection: if your goal is weight loss try to keep 2 of those 3 fruits lower in sugar content, so things like melons, berries, citrus fruit. Your higher sugar fruits would include things like bananas, apples, grapes, dates, figs, and mangoes. Once again if you don't use that sugar you will store that sugar for energy later in the form of fat.
Continue to eat your fruit and continue to eat your veggies but stop lumping them together as one!