March 05, 2012

Getting all your fruits and vegetables in doesn't have to break the bank...if you choose wisely.

When the USDA revised their recommendations for a healthy diet, they also calculated the average cost per serving for fruits and vegetables (they looked at fresh, frozen and canned) and found that, on average, they cost 50 cents per one-cup serving. For an adult eating 2,000 calories per day, the USDA recommends eating 4½ cups per day (2½ cups vegetables and 2 cups of fruit), which would cost roughly $2.25/day.

Depending on the fruits and vegetables you choose, that number can be much higher…in some cases (as below) it's lower. Here's an example of how you can add in 4 1/2 cups of fruits and vegetables across 3 meals and a snack, to whatever else you eat throughout the day:

-Kerri-Ann Jennings, M.S., R.D.


Small banana (21 cents-equivalent to ½ cup)


1 cup of watermelon (17 cents)


2 cups of Romaine lettuce (40 cents-equivalent to 1 cup) + ½ cup of carrot sticks (13 cents) or grape tomatoes (60 cents)


½ large baked sweet potato (22 cents-counts as half a cup) + ½ c. frozen green beans (29 cents) or peas (26 cents)


½ c. canned peaches (29 cents)

Total cost for fruits and vegetables= $1.68 - $2.18