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Ask the Expert

I understand that this can be confusing! I think it is great that you are tracking and planning what you are eating! The 29 g of sugar is actually referring to added sugars. Fruits, if they are fresh or do not have any ingredients added to them, contain natural sugar. Therefore, they do not count towards your 29g of sugar. To determine if a product has added sugar, read the food label. I hope this helps you differentiate the difference between naturally occurring sugar and added sugars. Fruits and vegetables have numerous benefits and your only concern with them is that you are not getting enough! So eat up!


You can enjoy your fruits and vegetables together or separate! It does not make any difference, just as long as you are enjoying them! This delicious Golden Glow Pinapple Salad has both fruits and vegetables!


If you are freezing your own strawberries, freezing them in light sugar syrup will help maintain their shape.  Simply cover whole or sliced ripe betters with a small amount of sugar and allow them to make their own “juice” prior to freezing them in a freezer-tight storage plastic bag/container. Freeze at 0 degrees Fahrenheit and as a general rule, use with in 6 months. When thawing the strawberries, put in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours to assure the firmness of the strawberries. When you do want to enjoy your strawberries, try this Strawberry Shortcake’s Fruit Pizza!

There are tons of vitamins and mineral in vegetables and not one fruit or vegetable out ranks another. There are multiple health benefits from all of the nutrients that exist in fruits and vegetables. Since the list is so vast, check out our Fruit and Vegetable Nutrition Database for detailed information on the nutrients in specific fruits and vegetables.


The key point to remember is to vary your veggies by consuming a variety of colors. Since all fruits and vegetables have a unique make up of vitamins and minerals eating a variety of colors will guarantee you are consuming the recommended amount of each.


Fruits are composed primarily of carbohydrates. Fresh, frozen, dried, canned, and 100% fruit juices do not contain fat unless other ingredients containing fat are added to them. The only exception would be the avocado and the black olive – they are considered fruit, but have a higher fat content (the healthy fat) and therefore more calories. New Ways to Refresh with Fruits


I know this can be very difficult to learn how to adjust to cooking for one person. However, instead of eating out try some of these helpful tips:

  1. Determine the number of serving of a recipe and divide it by that number to create a one person meal (this is trial and error for the taste quality because some of the recipes don’t work as well when you cut them in half or more).
  2. Snack! You can easily make a one person snack that is nutrient dense and delicious. Try these Pineapple Tidbits! They’re quick, easy, and don’t leave any leftovers.
  3. Buy fresh fruits and vegetables, clean them, and chop them at the beginning of each week for easy additions to all your meals. Fruit and Vegetable Storage and Selection Information
  4. Buy already washed spinach or romaine lettuce to make a quick salad. Top with beans and you have a complete meal!
  5. Most grocery stores offer frozen fruits, vegetables, poultry, and other meat and meatless products that can be used as needed. If you are just cooking for yourself for the night, just use one chicken breast or one veggie burger. Add a salad, side of fruit, and a beverage and you have a well balanced meal!

The majority of fruits and vegetables are considered low salt or salt-free foods! Therefore, sodium restricted diets do not restrict the intake of fruits and vegetables. They actually promote the consumption of fruits in vegetables in place of high sodium snacks! The higher salt content of fruits and vegetables that you may see on food labels is not naturally occurring, but can be added during the cooking process or preservation process or added sauces. If you are on a low sodium diet and you purchase canned fruits and vegetables remember to rinse them with water. This will decrease the sodium content by about half! Also, make it a point to learn new ways to prepare your fruits and vegetables if you routinely add salt or salted butter to them. In the mean time, check out which fruits and vegetables are considered low sodium, very low sodium, and sodium free.


Kiwis are a great, simple, nutritious snack that are packed full of potassium, fiber vitamin C and K. They are so versatile! Since kiwis are generally not cooked you could cut them in half and enjoy them by scooping the fruit out with a spoon or peel the fuzzy skin and use them in a salad. (You can also simply slice the kiwi with the skin on, and eat the skin – it isn’t harmful — if peeling or scooping is too much trouble!) A fun activity to do with your kids would be to make fruit kabobs with strawberries, peaches, mangos, kiwi, and other fruits. Use low-fat vanilla yogurt for a dipping sauce. For all your fruit needs, check our fun ways to refresh with fruit.


One serving of fruit is equivalent of ½ cup of fresh/frozen/canned fruit, ¼ cup of dried fruit, and 4 oz (½ cup) of fruit juice [See Our Visual Fruit & Veggie Serving Reference]. From my calculations you are consuming 4 (½ cup) servings. This would be equivalent to 2 cups of fruit. To make sure you’re getting enough fruits and vegetables each day, check out our Fruit & Veggie Daily Intake Chart.  Keep up the good work!

Fruits and vegetables as part of a balanced diet low in total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium has been proven to reduce the risk of heart disease. Since fruits and vegetables are naturally low in fat and are chock- full of vitamins and minerals, there are numerous benefits to making them part of your balanced diet.
You are making the right decisions early in life to give you a strong defense against heart disease and many other diseases related to diet. Keep up the good work! For more ways to keep your heart healthy with fruits and vegetables, check out our Insider’s Viewpoint column Heart Health Protection-Guaranteed!
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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