We have all heard that eating plenty of fruits and vegetables may help control our weight and lower our risk for heart disease as well as other chronic diseases. We have even been encouraged to fill half of our plate with fruits and vegetables. Experts recommend that ideally, Americans should aim for at least 8 servings of fruits and vegetables per day.
You may have also heard that we should aim to vary the colors of our produce and “eat the rainbow.” The guidance to vary produce is just as important as guidance on the number of servings. Each color of produce provides the body with different key vitamins, minerals and many other beneficial compounds, some of which we are still discovering and can’t create in a lab or a factory. (This is why taking over-the-counter daily vitamin and mineral supplements is not a substitute for a diet rich in a variety of produce.)
MyPlate, the current food guidance system to assist Americans in building a healthy eating pattern, breaks vegetables into 5 subgroups: dark green, red and orange, beans and peas, starch and other. A recommended weekly intake is suggested from each group. These recommendations are given as amounts to eat WEEKLY. It is not necessary to eat vegetables from each subgroup daily. However, over a week, Americans are encouraged to consume the advised amounts from each subgroup.
The red and orange vegetables are full of essential nutrients like beta-carotene, which is a key antioxidant that helps to keep the immune system strong and assists in protecting against heart disease. Most red and orange vegetables are nearly fat-free and low in protein, with about 1 to 2 grams per serving. The recommended weekly intake is 5 1/2 cups for adult women and 6 cups for adult men.
This meal takes a Southern favorite, Chicken & Waffles, to a new level by adding pureed pumpkin into the mix to amplify the nutritional quality and topping it with an orange fruit to help you meet the weekly recommendation.
Pumpkin Waffles & Chicken Dinner Recipe