Color your diet full of vegetables and nutrients

Denise Wright

Serving sizes and nutrient intake key when planning your body’s veggie intake

Emily Horne | Daily Kent Stater

Credit: DKS Editors

As a child you may have spent dinnertime pushing your peas around your plate, waiting for them to disappear. I was one of those kids.

But as I grew older, I actually started to eat my vegetables because I realized they didn’t taste so bad, and they actually were good for me. You probably did, too.

But even as an adult, I – like many – still don’t know the specifics on vegetables in my diet. So we’ve compiled the following information to make it a little bit easier for you.

What should I eat?

Different colored vegetables have different nutrients. For example, tomatoes are high in Vitamin C – mushrooms aren’t, but they’re a great source of potassium. A general rule of thumb is to categorize each vegetable based on its color, and mix up which ones you eat.

Red Tomatoes, red chili peppers, red bell peppers, radishes

Orange Sweet potatoes, orange bell peppers, carrots, pumpkins

Yellow Squash, yellow bell peppers, corn, yellow tomatoes

Green Spinach, green bell peppers, broccoli, asparagus, lettuce, green beans, cucumbers

Blue/purple Eggplant, purple potatoes, dark red onions, purple cabbage

White Mushrooms, cauliflower, potatoes, onions

What’s a serving?

Serving sizes range per vegetable. If you’re not sure, a cup is usually a good estimate. But here are some specifics to help you out: Corn, broccoli, squash, beans and carrots are 1/2 cup; tomatoes, cucumbers and bell peppers are one cup; spinach and lettuce are two cups; a small baked potato counts as one serving.

How much should I eat per day/week?

Females should eat almost 18 cups of vegetables per week, or about 2 1/2 cups per day. A good rule of thumb is to eat a serving of three different colored vegetables per day. This will meet your daily intake requirement, while providing a range of nutrients.

Males should eat almost 25 cups of vegetables per week, or about 3 1/2 cups per day. That means eat a serving of four or five different-colored vegetables per day to meet your daily intake requirement, while providing a range of nutrients.

*This information is based on the 2,000-calorie diet for females and 2,600 for males. It was calculated for a 20-year-old who exercises less than a half hour per day. Height and weight were not taken into account. For more information, visit one of the sources we consulted.

Sources:, Jodie Luidhardt, Coordinator of the Nutrition Outreach Program on campus

Veggie Recipe

Oven-baked sweet potato fries


1 – 1 1/2 pounds of sweet potatoes

1/4 cup olive oil

A pinch of salt

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon allspice (equal mixture of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves)


1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil (the easy release kind works the best).

2. Peel sweet potatoes. Cut into strips about 1/2-inch wide on each side.

3. Place potatoes in a bowl. Add oil, salt, paprika, cinnamon and allspice. Thoroughly coat fries. Spread potatoes evenly on baking sheet in a single layer.

4. Cook for 20 to 25 minutes, turning every 10 minutes. Transfer immediately to a paper towel-lined plate and serve warm.


Contact features reporter Denise Wright at [email protected]