What your mother always told you . . .

Did she tell you to clean up your room? Turn that music down? Take out the garbage? Possibly.

But I’m absolutely certain that at some point in time she told you to eat your vegetables!

And I’m quite sure that you worry about the very same thing with your kids. After all, eating fruits and vegetables provides lots of vitamins, minerals, and fiber which are essential to good health. Not to mention they help fill you up without a lot of fat and calories and reduce the risk of cancer and other chronic diseases to boot.

So, imagine a circle representing your dinner plate. Draw an imaginary line through the middle of the circle bisecting it into two equal halves. Now, load up one half with imaginary fruits and vegetables. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) designed this easy to follow graphic reminder of what we should be eating.

5 servings a day, minimum… More is better… This is the standard, one size fits all recommendation. For more specific numbers based on age and gender check HERE.

It might seem like a challenge to fit them all in, but don’t feel overwhelmed. Here are a few ideas to help you get started.

1. One or two at every meal. Servings that is… And try one at snack time for carbohydrate energy with protein for holding power.

2. Double up! Instead of taking an extra slice of garlic toast have a second serving of salad for example.

3. What’s growing in your area? Shop in season. Vegetables will taste better and, as a result, will be easier to consume. Visit the farmer’s market, roadside stand, or check out locally grown produce at the grocery store.

How do you fill your plate with fruits and vegetables?