FOCUS ON WHOLE FRUITS: Add Some Fruit to Your Diet

(FN1844, Reviewed April 2022)

Many people do not meet the current daily recommendations for fruits (or vegetables). On average, adults need at least 1½ cups of fruit per day.

Lead Author
Lead Author:
Julie Garden-Robinson, Ph.D., R.D., L.R.D., Food and Nutrition Specialist
Other Authors

Allie Benson, R.D., L.R.D., Program Assistant (former)

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Publication Sections

What fruits do you have at home?

Even though people have become more conscious of nutrition, studies show that most do not eat the minimum number of recommended servings. You can print your personalized nutrition plan at www.choosemyplate.gov.

Many people do not meet the current daily recommendations for fruits (or vegetables). On average, adults need at least 1½ cups of fruit per day.

What counts as a cup of fruit?

According to MyPlate.gov, 1 cup fruit = 1 cup 100 percent fruit juice or ½ cup dried fruit.

Keep in mind that fruit juice has less fiber than whole fruit. Dried fruit is higher in calories than whole, fresh fruit.

Consider trying some of the following ideas to increase your fruit intake:

  • Buy fruit in season, when it is at its best price and quality. Try one new fruit each month or more often when possible.
  • Keep a bowl of whole fruit on the counter or table. The more you see it, the more likely you are to choose it. However, remember that refrigerated fruit has a longer shelf life.
  • Purchase precut fruit for convenience. Choose some whole fruit and some cut-up fruit to increase the options you have on hand at home. Precut fruit must be kept refrigerated to ensure food safety.
  • Store a bag of dried fruit in your desk or bag. Fruits that are available dried include apricots, apples, pineapple, bananas, cherries, figs, dates, cranberries, blueberries, prunes and raisins. One-fourth cup of dried fruit is equivalent to ½ cup of other fruits.
  • Choose mixed or seasonal fruits as a side item when eating at a restaurant or sliced apples if ordering fast food. If fruit is not on the menu, ask your server if it is a possibility.
  • Try peanut butter with apple slices or vanilla yogurt with berries or kiwi fruit slices.
  • Offer children a choice of fruits during a meal. Create fruit art on a plate to make fruit more appealing and fun. While shopping, allow children to pick out a new fruit they want to try later at home.
  • When barbecuing, grill pineapple or peach chunks on kabobs alongside meat kabobs. Find meat and salad recipes that incorporate fruits such as chicken with strawberries, apples or mandarin oranges.


Key to abbreviations

c. = cup

tsp. = teaspoon

Tbsp. = tablespoon

oz. = ounce

g = gram

mg = milligram

Apple Nachos

Apple Nachos
Photo Credit:
NDSU Extension
Apple Nachos

a c. dried, unsweetened cranberries or raisins

¼ c. sliced or whole almonds, unsalted

2 Tbsp. hulled, unsalted sunflower seeds

3 medium apples (red and/or green), cored and thinly sliced (about 12 pieces per apple)

1 to 2 tsp. lemon juice

2 Tbsp. hot water (extra if needed)

¼ c. smooth peanut butter*

1 Tbsp. honey

In a small bowl, combine dried cranberries/raisins, almonds and sunflower seeds. Core each apple and thinly slice into about 12 pieces each. Layer half of the apples onto a large plate or platter. If the apple slices will be sitting out for a while, sprinkle with lemon juice to prevent browning. Using a microwave oven or teapot, bring 2 tablespoons of water to a boil. In a small bowl, combine hot water, peanut butter and honey. Use a spoon to stir until mixture is smooth. Use a spoon to drizzle the peanut butter mixture over the plated apple slices; sprinkle with half the cranberry mixture. Layer the remaining apples on top and repeat with remaining peanut butter and cranberry mixture. Serve.

Makes eight servings. Each serving has 167 calories, 7.4 g fat, 4 g protein, 22 g carbohydrate, 4 g fiber and 66 mg sodium.

*Nutrition information is calculated with reduced fat peanut butter.

Source: This recipe is adapted from the American Heart Association, www.heart.org

Fruit Salsa

Fruit Salsa
Photo Credit:
NDSU Extension
Fruit Salsa

1 c. strawberries, diced

1 kiwi, peeled and diced

1 apple, cored and diced

1 banana, diced

2 Tbsp. lemon juice
(or less to taste)

2 Tbsp. brown sugar

c tsp. nutmeg

½ tsp. cinnamon

Prepare fruit as directed. Combine fruit in a bowl and add lemon juice. Stir in sugar, nutmeg and cinnamon. Refrigerate.

Use this salsa in various ways.

• Serve as a snack with whole-grain chips or crackers.

• Layer with nonfat vanilla yogurt in glasses to make parfaits.

• Serve as a side dish with grilled chicken or fish.

Makes four servings. Each serving has 100 calories, 0 g fat, 1 g protein, 26 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber and 0 mg sodium.

Breakfast Banana Split

Breakfast Banana Split
Photo Credit:
NDSU Extension
Breakfast Banana Split

1 small banana

1 Tbsp. peanut butter

½ c. low-fat vanilla yogurt

2 Tbsp. granola cereal

½ c. strawberries, sliced
(blueberries or other
fruit can be substituted)

Peel banana, cut in half and slice lengthwise. Spread the peanut butter over banana. Add the yogurt to the middle of banana. Top with the granola and strawberries.

Makes one serving. The serving has 350 calories, 13 g fat, 16 g protein, 46 g carbohydrate, 5 g fiber and 150 mg sodium.

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