This is How Much Fruit to Buy Each Week
How much fruit do you buy each week?
Do you have a number in mind when you shop?
Do you think you’re eating enough?
I’ve written about the benefits of reducing or eliminating unhealthy foods from your house before. I advocate becoming a discerning shopper because logic dictates that if a food is in your house -- especially if it requires little or no preparation -- you are much more likely to eat it!
Seems pretty obvious, right? But I think it helps explains why Americans’ diets are over half processed foods. You’re tired, you’re stressed, you’re hungry and opening a box or bag and digging in is easy and offers instant gratification (even if it is sometimes followed later by regret!). Ultra processed foods are super easy to “prepare” and eat, as anyone who has opened a bag of potato chips knows.
But the idea that you’re more likely to eat food if a) it is in your house and b) it is simple to prepare, can also be used to help you eat more healthy foods, like FRUIT.
Of all the categories of whole plant-based foods, fruit is hands down the easiest to prepare. Most are also packable and portable! Since fruit can always be eaten alone, it also doesn’t require recipes or extensive planning to incorporate into your weekly menu.
Want to know more about packing fruit in lunches? Check out this post.
Fruit proves that you don’t need to buy ultra processed foods to have something fast and easy to eat at home, or on the road.
I’m a big fan of making small changes, for the big results they lead to. Adding more fruit to your diet is a great small step for anyone looking to start eating healthier.
The vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber in fruit have many benefits. They may help reduce your risk of heart disease, cancer and type 2 diabetes. Eating fruit also lowers your blood pressure, improves your gastrointestinal health and helps preserve your eyesight. Plus, fruit provides a sweet treat with no added sugar, which can help you maintain or lose weight.
When it comes to eating fruit, the statistics tell us that there is a lot of improvement that can be made. In fact, only 12% of Americans eat the minimum recommended number of servings of fruit per day. That means nearly 9 out of every 10 people are eating less than 1½ to 2 cups of fruit on any given day.
In some states it’s even worse, like in West Virginia, where only 7% of adults reach the minimum recommendation. Accessibility to fruit is a major problem for some. Over 5.5 million Americans live in food deserts, where the closest grocery store is over half a mile away, and don’t have access to a vehicle. Most of their shopping must be done at convenience stores, with limited selections.
Those of us who can regularly visit a grocery store (or, even better, a farmer’s market or CSA) should count ourselves lucky. But if we can all agree that healthy foods don’t make you healthier if you leave them at the store, then we need to buy more fruit each week at the grocery store.
But how much fruit should we buy each week?
You may have seen photos online of what 5 servings of fruit and vegetables for a single day looks like, but if you shop once a week and want to eat more fruit, you need to know what a week’s worth of fruit looks like for your household!
Below is a week’s worth of fruit for four different size households or individuals. Total amount of fruit for the week is based on 2 one-cup servings, per person, per day, except for the photo showing the fruit for a young child, which is based on 1½ cups per day.
These are samples based on fruit available at this time of the year. In the summer or fall these photos would look very different. (Hmm, maybe I’ll repeat this later in the year… ) Since apples and blueberries are not in season and I can’t seem to get enough ripe mangoes to keep up with my 9 year old’s obsession with them, in the winter I rely on some frozen fruit and applesauce to reach our fruit quota.
How do these photos compare to your typical weekly shopping haul?
One Younger Child
A week’s worth of fruit for one younger child is 10½ cups.
In this photo we have 3 bananas (3 servings), 1 pound of grapes (2½ servings), 3 oranges (3 servings), and a 16 oz jar of applesauce (2 servings).
A week’s worth of fruit for one person is 14 cups.
In this photo we have 4 bananas (4 servings), 1 cantaloupe (4 servings) and 6 grapefruits (6 servings).
Two Adults or an Adult and Older Child
A week’s worth of fruit for two people is 28 cups.
In this photo we have 1 bunch of bananas (7 servings), 2 pounds of grapes (5 servings), 5 oranges (5 servings), 1 pineapple (4 servings) , and 32 oz bag of frozen blueberries (7 servings).
Family of Four
A week’s worth of fruit for a family of four (with older children) is 56 cups! This is the fruit my family will eat this week.
In this photo we have 2 bunches of bananas (12 servings), 1 cantaloupe (4 servings), 2 pounds of grapes (5 servings), 6 grapefruits (6 servings), 8 oranges (8 servings), 1 pineapple (4 servings), a 32 oz jar of applesauce (4 servings) and 32 oz bags of frozen diced mango (6 servings) and blueberries (7 servings).
Are you surprised by how fast it adds up?
Even if you have easy access to a well-stocked grocery store, this last photo especially might leave you wondering how much this 2 fruit a day habit is going to cost you!
You may be wondering, which fruits are most inexpensive?
According to the most recent data, these fresh fruits have the cheapest prices per serving. You’ll notice that a few of my choices this week are on the list.
Some, like the watermelon, peaches and nectarines are more readily available at other times of the year.
Focusing on seasonal fruit, especially if you can buy it directly from a farmer or at a pick your own orchard, is a great way to help keep costs down. These fruits can even be frozen and saved to use in the winter months. (Unfortunately, at this point in the year, our summer berry stash is long gone!)
If you’re unable to freeze seasonal fruit or run out, buying frozen fruit at the grocery store also offers a cost savings, especially when you buy the largest size available.
If buying and eating as much fruit as shown in these photos seems overwhelming or impossible to you right now, don’t despair.
Remember that 88% of Americans aren’t eating this much fruit. You aren’t alone. You can work up to these numbers. Start with just one serving of fruit per person per day. Make it simple by buying yourself seven of the same fruit each week (but vary the fruit week to week) or buy a different fruit for your family each day of the week to try some new kinds.
And if you already enjoy two servings of fruit every day, remember that this recommendation is the minimum. You’re always free to enjoy more!
Your Turn: Tell me how much fruit are you going to buy this week. Then share this post with a friend to help them get healthier by eating more fruit!