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USDA Vegetable Guidelines


Vegetable Serving Recommendations

The most nutrient-dense vegetables -- those in the dark green subcategory -- unfortunately are also those that Americans are least likely to consume. They include broccoli, spinach, romaine lettuce, and collard, turnip, and mustard greens. Aim to get 1/2 cup four to six days a week.

Orange vegetables are commonly eaten thanks to carrots, but others in this group include sweet potatoes, yams, winter squash, and pumpkin. Aim to get 1/2 cup three or four times a week.

Legumes include all cooked dry beans and peas, such as black beans, pinto beans, kidney beans, navy beans, chickpeas, split peas, lentils, and soybean products. Aim for two or three cups a week; that translates into 1/2 cup five or six days a week or 1 cup two to three times a week, in such foods as chili or soup.

Starchy vegetables include white potatoes, green peas, jicama, and corn. Aim to get 1/2 cup five or six days a week.

The "Other Vegetables" subgroup includes tomatoes, green beans, cucumbers, onions, lettuces other than romaine, mushrooms, cauliflower, peppers, cabbage, eggplant, and more. The eating patterns recommend 51/2 to 7 cups per week, which breaks down to about 1 cup five to seven days a week. If all that sounds like a lot of vegetables -- it is!

The Dietary Guidelines recommend making vegetables a major component of your eating pattern. Why? Because veggies make it easy to eat fewer calories, manage your weight, and decrease your risk of chronic conditions. An easy way to think about it is to fill half of your lunch and dinner plates with vegetables. Heap them up partially with salad and partially with cooked veggies, and you'll be well on your way to filling up on nutrient-dense food. Round out your plates by dividing the remaining half into two quarters -- fill one with protein and the other with grain, such as a whole-grain roll, pasta, or rice.

Recommended Weekly Vegetable Servings

Calorie Level
1,200-1,400
1,600
1,800
2,200-2,400
Vegetables
1.5 cups (3 srv)
2 cups (4 srv)
2.5 cups (5 srv)
3 cups (6 srv)
Dark green vegetables
1.5 cups/week
2 cups/week
3 cups/week
3 cups/week
Orange vegetables
1 cup/week
1.5 cups/week
2 cups/week
2 cups/week
Legumes
1 cup/week
2.5 cups/week
3 cups/week
3 cups/week
Starchy vegetables
2.5 cups/week
2.5 cups/week
3 cups/week
6 cups/week
Other vegetables
4.5 cups/week
5.5 cups/week
6.5 cups/week
7 cups/week


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