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It is true that the nutritional value of foods can change depending on the processing or preparation methods involved.  Fruit and vegetables are no different.  In the drying process of fruits, water is removed thus concentrating the natural sugars and calories.  Loss of nutrients can occur, though pretreatments in the drying process act to protect against this.   No doubt there are advantages to both fresh and dried fruit options.  While both are delicious and provide healthful nutrients and fiber, dried offers a convenience factor and a shelf life that fresh cannot.  Fresh on the other hand, provides the juiciness and thus the ability to hydrate and feel fuller on fewer calories.  Be comfortable in knowing that both are good dietary choices, and work to fit into ever-changing, busy lifestyles.  Search our website for tasty tips and suggestions for incorporating all product forms of fruits and vegetables—fresh, frozen, canned, dried and 100% juice, into your diet!


The Produce for Better Health Foundation is a non-profit educational program representing the private component of a public-private partnership with the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention and other government and public health entities.  The core purpose of Produce for Better Health Foundation is to motivate all people to eat more fruits and vegetables for their better health.  As such, our focus is to encourage consumption of all forms of fruits and vegetables.  Inclusion of organic, locally-grown fruits and vegetables is certainly one way to accomplish this goal, and visiting local farmers markets is suggested in materials as one way to increase consumption.


Of course, fruits and vegetables should play an important role in losing or maintaining one’s weight when they are eaten in place of high calorie, high fat foods. However, we recommend that you see your physician or a registered dietitian for personalized weight counseling. 



You can now find many types of produce available year round, but most fruits and veggies peak in different seasons. In the fall look for a fresh crop of apples as well as pumpkins, figs, mushrooms, pears, sweet potatoes and other delicious winter squash varieties. In the winter, look for citrus fruits such as oranges, tangerines and grapefruits as well as kale, radishes, radicchio and rutabagas. In the spring look for asparagus, avocados, artichokes, apricots, mangos, spinach and pineapple. In the summer, you can expect to find a bounty of fresh sweet corn, tomatoes, cucumbers, broccoli, peaches, zucchini and plums, watermelons to name a few. Cantaloupes are available year round, with those from the US available in May through November and Mexico or Latin America November through May.

More information on how to select and store your fresh produce 


½ cup (4 ounces) of any 100% juice will count as a serving of fruit.  With so many “juice drinks” or “juice beverages” on the market, be sure to check the label for the words “100% juice”.  The American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation for juice is 4-6 ounces for kids 1 to 6 years old and 8-12 ounces for those over 6. They do not recommend juice for infants less than 6 months of age. Check our website for tips and suggestions on incorporating all product forms of fruits and vegetables—fresh, frozen, canned, dried & 100% juice into your diet.


We’ve compiled a list of what counts as a cup and what counts as a half cup for some fruits and veggies. To see this list, go to,   We also have a great chart that is available in our kid’s section (
For those items not on our list make a “guessing” game with your kids. Ask how many of a certain type of a fruit or veggie will fit into a household measuring cup –then measure the item to see who had the correct guess!


The amount of fruits and veggies you need in a day depends on your sex, age and level of activity. In general, most people do not consume enough fruits and veggies, so one more is always a great start.

How much do you need?



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The Expert: Dr. Elizabeth Pivonka, a mother of two and a registered dietitian, shares years of experience in getting people to eat more fruits and veggies.
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