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Vegetables

Vegetables

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.

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How many vegetables do you need?

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Why is it important to eat vegetables?

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Beans, peas, and lentils are unique foods

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How many vegetables are needed?

The amount of vegetables you need to eat depends on your age, sex, and level of physical activity. The amount each person needs can vary between 1 and 3 cups each day. Those who are very physically active may need more. Recommended total daily amounts and recommended weekly amounts from each vegetable subgroup are shown in the two tables below.

What counts as a cup of vegetables?

In general, 1 cup of raw or cooked vegetables or vegetable juice, or 2 cups of raw leafy greens can be considered as 1 cup from the Vegetable Group. The table below lists specific amounts that count as 1 cup of vegetables (in some cases equivalents for ½ cup are also shown) towards your recommended intake.
 

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.

Daily Recommendation*
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
Dark-Green Vegetables Broccoli

1 cup, chopped or florets

3 spears, 5" long raw or cooked

 
Greens (collards, mustard greens, turnip greens, kale) 1 cup, cooked  
Spinach

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

2 medium
1 cup baby carrots (about 12)

1 medium carrot

½ cup baby carrots (about 6)

Pumpkin 1 cup, mashed, cooked  
Red peppers

1 cup, chopped, raw, or cooked

1 large pepper (3" diameter, 3¾" long)

1 small pepper
Tomatoes

1 large raw whole (3")

1 cup, chopped or sliced, raw, canned, or cooked

1 small raw whole (2¼" diameter)


1 medium canned

Tomato juice 1 cup ½ cup
Sweet potato

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 cup

1 large ear (8" to 9" long)

1 small ear (about 6" long)
Green peas 1 cup  
White potatoes

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  
Celery

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  
Green peppers

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.

Nutrients

Most vegetables are naturally low in fat and calories. None have cholesterol. (Sauces or seasonings may add fat, calories, and/or cholesterol.)

Nutrients

Vegetables are important sources of many nutrients, including potassium, dietary fiber, folate (folic acid), vitamin A, and vitamin C.

Nutrients

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.

Nutrients

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.

Nutrients

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.

Nutrients

Vitamin A keeps eyes and skin healthy and helps to protect against infections.

Nutrients

Vitamin C helps heal cuts and wounds and keeps teeth and gums healthy. Vitamin C aids in iron absorption.

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Health Benefits

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.
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MyPlate.gov is based on the
Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025

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