How Many Vegetables and Fruit Do you Need?

woman in the produce section of the grocery store selecting a zucchini

Eating enough vegetables and fruit is important for good health. They are rich in vitamins, minerals, fibre and other plant nutrients. They also contain antioxidants which may lower your risk of heart disease and cancer. But how do you know if you are eating enough vegetables and fruit?

Bonus! Watch the video to see this information in action. Canada’s Food Guide recommends 7 to 10 servings of vegetables and fruit a day depending on your age and if you are a man or a woman.




2 to 3 years old

4 to 8 years old

9 to 13 years old

14 to 18 years old

19 to 50 years old

51 years old and over

Girls and Boys












7 to 8

8 to 10



While the number of servings may seem like a lot, let’s take a closer look at what one Food Guide serving looks like.

Examples of one food guide serving of fruit and vegetables:

  • 125 mL (½ cup) fresh, frozen or canned vegetables or fruit.
  • 125 mL of 100% fruit juice or low sodium vegetable juice.
  • 250 mL (1 cup) leafy green vegetables such as Romaine lettuce, dandelion greens, raw kale, spring mix and baby spinach. This is about the size of your fist.
  • 1 piece of fruit or vegetable such as an apple, guava, nectarine, orange, peach, pear, large carrot or celery stalk.
  • 60 mL (1/4 cup) of dried fruit such as raisins, dried cranberries, dried apricots or dried prunes.

Find out more about the Food Guide Servings in the Vegetables and Fruit Food Group.

How to get enough vegetables and fruit servings

An easy way to get enough vegetables and fruit is to eat a couple of servings at breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner. Here is an example of what your day could look like:



scrambled egg

whole wheat English muffin

½ cup of grapes

½ cup orange slices


2 Food Guide servings



Soba noodles (noodles, broth, chicken, 1 cup colorful veggies)


2 Food Guide servings




1 cup fruit (strawberries and cantaloupe)

Toasted bagel with peanut butter


2 Food Guide servings




White Bean Chili (made with canned white beans, and 1 cup veggies such as canned tomatoes, celery, red pepper, frozen corn)

Whole grain crispy flat bread

Fruit flavoured yogurt


2 Food Guide servings




8 Food Guide Servings

Did you know?

Canada’s Food Guide recommends choosing at least one dark green and one orange vegetable each day to help you get enough folic acid and vitamin A:

  • Eat dark green vegetables such as arugula, broccoli, chard, dandelion greens, gai lan, kale, collard greens, Swiss chard, mustard greens, Romaine lettuce, baby spinach or spring mix.
  • Go for orange vegetables such as carrots, sweet potatoes, squash, pumpkin or yams.
  • Apricots, cantaloupes, mangoes, nectarines, papaya and peaches also contain vitamin A and can be chosen instead of an orange vegetable.

Five ways to save money when buying vegetables and fruit

1. Seasonal vegetables and fruit are often less expensive. Enjoy them fresh or freeze them in portions you can use for another time. Remember to label and date the package so you know by which date you need to use it up. Your frozen vegetables and fruit will keep in the freezer for up to one year.

2. Use root vegetables like potatoes, carrots, parsnips, turnips, sweet potatoes and onions as they tend to be less expensive. Enjoy them in soups, stews, grilled, mashed, roasted and baked as “fries.”

3. Buy large bags of frozen vegetables and fruit. They are great because you use only what you need and freeze the rest, which means little waste.

  • Add frozen vegetables to stir-fries, soups, and pasta.
  • Use frozen fruit, like mixed berries, mango and peaches in smoothies, muffins, pancakes and crisps.

4. Look at the fresh fruit and vegetables being sold in the discount produce section of the store. These foods are still great to eat and have many uses. Brown bananas make tasty muffins and banana bread. As for vegetables, they’re good for stocks, soups and stews.

5. Add leftover cooked vegetables to soups, stews or stir-fries. Add them to an omelette or top pizza. Enjoy in a wrap spread with hummus.

Try these recipes:

Jack’s Special Veggie Bread

Vegetable Quinoa Salad

Maple Carrots And Parsnips

Tea poached salmon with fruit salsa

You may also be interested in:

Vegetable and Fruit Challenge: Are you getting enough each day?

How to store fruit to keep them fresh

How to store vegetables to keep them fresh


Last Update – May 1, 2018

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