What foods are in the Vegetable Group?
Any vegetable or 100% vegetable juice counts as a member of the Vegetable Group. Vegetables may be raw or cooked; fresh, frozen, canned, or dried/dehydrated; and may be whole, cut-up, or mashed.
Based on their nutrient content, vegetables are organized into 5 subgroups: dark green; red and orange; beans, peas, and lentils; starchy; and other vegetables.
More About the Vegetable Group
Note: Click on the top row to expand the table. If you are on a mobile device, you may need to turn your phone to see the full table.
*These amounts are appropriate for individuals who get less than 30 minutes per day of moderate physical activity, beyond normal daily activities. Those who are more physically active may be able to consume more while staying within calorie needs.
|Children||2-3 yrs||1 cup|
|4-8 yrs||1½ cups|
|Girls||9-13 yrs||2 cups|
|14-18 yrs||2½ cups|
|Boys||9-13 yrs||2½ cups|
|14-18 yrs||3 cups|
|Women||19-30 yrs||2½ cups|
|31-50 yrs||2½ cups|
|51+ yrs||2 cups|
|Men||19-30 yrs||3 cups|
|31-50 yrs||3 cups|
|51+ yrs||2½ cups|
Vegetable subgroup recommendations are given as amounts to eat WEEKLY. It is not necessary to eat vegetables from each subgroup daily. However, over a week, try to consume the amounts listed from each subgroup as a way to reach your daily intake recommendation.
|Amount per Week|
|Dark-green vegetables||Red & orange vegetables||Beans, peas, & lentils||Starchy vegetables||Other vegetables|
|Children||2-3 yrs||½ cup||2½ cups||½ cup||2 cups||1½ cups|
|4-8 yrs||1 cup||3 cups||½ cup||3½ cups||2½ cups|
|Girls||9-13 yrs||1½ cups||4 cups||1 cup||4 cups||3½ cups|
|14-18 yrs||1½ cups||5½ cups||1½ cups||5 cups||4 cups|
|Boys||9-13 yrs||1½ cups||5½ cups||1½ cups||5 cups||4 cups|
|14-18 yrs||2 cups||6 cups||2 cups||6 cups||5 cups|
|Women||19-30 yrs||1½ cups||5½ cups||1½ cups||5 cups||4 cups|
|31-50 yrs||1½ cups||5½ cups||1½ cups||5 cups||4 cups|
|51+ yrs||1½ cups||4 cups||1 cup||4 cups||3½ cups|
|Men||19-30 yrs||2 cups||6 cups||2 cups||6 cups||5 cups|
|31-50 yrs||2 cups||6 cups||2 cups||6 cups||5 cups|
|51+ yrs||1½ cups||5½ cups||1½ cups||5 cups||4 cups|
|Amount that counts as 1 cup of vegetables||Amount that counts as ½ cup of vegetables|
1 cup, chopped or florets
3 spears, 5" long raw or cooked
|Greens (collards, mustard greens, turnip greens, kale)||1 cup, cooked|
1 cup, cooked
2 cups, raw
|1 cup, raw|
|Raw leafy greens: Spinach, romaine, watercress, dark green leafy lettuce, endive, escarole||2 cups, raw||1 cup, raw|
|Red and Orange Vegetables||Carrots||
1 cup, strips, slices, or chopped, raw or cooked
1 medium carrot
½ cup baby carrots (about 6)
|Pumpkin||1 cup, mashed, cooked|
1 cup, chopped, raw, or cooked
1 large pepper (3" diameter, 3¾" long)
|1 small pepper|
1 large raw whole (3")
1 cup, chopped or sliced, raw, canned, or cooked
1 small raw whole (2¼" diameter)
|Tomato juice||1 cup||½ cup|
1 large baked (2¼" or more diameter)
1 cup, sliced or mashed, cooked
|Winter squash (acorn, butternut, hubbard)||1 cup, cubed, cooked||½ acorn squash, baked = ¾ cup|
|Beans, Peas, and Lentils||Dry beans and peas and lentils (such as black, garbanzo, kidney, pinto, or soy beans, or black-eyed peas or split peas)||1 cup, whole or mashed, cooked|
|Starchy Vegetables||Corn, yellow or white||
1 large ear (8" to 9" long)
|1 small ear (about 6" long)|
|Green peas||1 cup|
1 cup, diced, mashed
1 medium boiled or baked potato (2½" to 3" diameter)
|Other Vegetables||Avocado||1 avocado||½ avocado|
|Bean sprouts||1 cup, cooked|
|Cabbage, green, red, napa, savoy||1 cup, chopped or shredded raw or cooked|
|Cauliflower||1 cup, pieces or florets raw or cooked|
1 cup, diced or sliced, raw or cooked
2 large stalks (11" to 12" long)
|1 large stalk (11" to 12" long)|
|Cucumbers||1 cup, raw, sliced or chopped|
|Green or wax beans||1 cup, cooked|
1 cup, chopped, raw or cooked
1 large pepper (3" diameter, 3¾" long)
|1 small pepper|
|Lettuce, iceberg or head||2 cups, raw, shredded or chopped||1 cup, raw, shredded or chopped|
|Mushrooms||1 cup, raw or cooked|
|Onions||1 cup, chopped, raw or cooked|
|Summer squash or zucchini||1 cup, cooked, sliced or diced|
Why is it important to eat vegetables?
Eating vegetables provides health benefits — people who eat more vegetables and fruits as part of an overall healthy diet are likely to have a reduced risk of some chronic diseases. Vegetables provide nutrients vital for health and maintenance of your body.
Most vegetables are naturally low in fat and calories. None have cholesterol. (Sauces or seasonings may add fat, calories, and/or cholesterol.)
Vegetables are important sources of many nutrients, including potassium, dietary fiber, folate (folic acid), vitamin A, and vitamin C.
Diets rich in potassium may help to maintain healthy blood pressure. Vegetable sources of potassium include sweet potatoes, white potatoes, white beans, tomato products (paste, sauce, and juice), beet greens, soybeans, lima beans, spinach, lentils, and kidney beans.
Dietary fiber from vegetables, as part of an overall healthy diet, helps reduce blood cholesterol levels and may lower risk of heart disease. Fiber is important for proper bowel function. It helps reduce constipation and diverticulosis. Fiber-containing foods such as vegetables help provide a feeling of fullness with fewer calories.
Folate (folic acid) helps the body form red blood cells. Women of childbearing age who may become pregnant should consume adequate folate from foods, and in addition 400 mcg of synthetic folic acid from fortified foods or supplements. This reduces the risk of neural tube defects, spina bifida, and anencephaly during fetal development.
Vitamin A keeps eyes and skin healthy and helps to protect against infections.
Vitamin C helps heal cuts and wounds and keeps teeth and gums healthy. Vitamin C aids in iron absorption.
All food and beverage choices matter – focus on variety, amount, and nutrition.
- As part of an overall healthy diet, eating foods such as vegetables that are lower in calories per cup instead of some other higher-calorie food may be useful in helping to lower calorie intake.
- Eating a diet rich in vegetables and fruits as part of an overall healthy diet may reduce risk for heart disease, including heart attack and stroke.
- Eating a diet rich in some vegetables and fruits as part of an overall healthy diet may protect against certain types of cancers.
- Adding vegetables can help increase intake of fiber and potassium, which are important nutrients that many Americans do not get enough of in their diet.