How Many Servings a day?

How many servings of fruits/veggies/grain/dairy/protein/etc. should I really be eating every day?

How many servings of fruits/veggies/grain/dairy/protein/etc. should I really be eating every day?


I am a big proponent of eating an abundance of vegetables. Vegetables should be the main meal, with protein and fat to complement the vegetable. Veggies are the best source of vitamins and minerals, they contain fiber to feed healthy bacteria in the gut, and they fill you up. Although most patients will not meet my goal, I recommend 12 servings of vegetables a day. Most Americans are lucky to get one.

Consume at least 2 servings of organic vegetables with every meal and make vegetables your snacks. Have a green drink with breakfast, a large salad at lunch, steamed vegetables with dinner, and snack on veggies dipped in hummus.

Green vegetables are incredibly low in calories and rich in nutrients and fiber – the more you eat, the more weight you lose, the lower your cholesterol, and the better you feel. Dark leafy greens are best since they have the fewest calories and are the most nutrient rich foods.

Try colorful vegetables such as beets, eggplant, radishes, bean sprouts, bell peppers, radicchio, cauliflower, artichokes and carrots.

Foods in the cruciferous family have the most anti-cancer properties: kale, collards, watercress, arugula, cauliflower, bok choy.

Eat at least one mushroom per day. These have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties.

Onions and garlic fight disease. Include onion in at least one meal per day. One clove of raw garlic per day can reduce blood pressure by as much as 10 points.

I am not a proponent of grains. The majority of my patients struggle with chronic fatigue or pain, and I find that grains contribute to this state. I typically advise patients to avoid grains containing gluten (wheat, rye and barley) and to avoid corn. Gluten-free oats, brown or wild rice, and other gluten-free or ancient grains may be consumed, but I suggest you do so in limited quantities (one serving per meal). For fiber and nutrition, I would suggest legumes, quinoa or a sweet potato over a grain.

I am not a fan of dairy either. Again, I find it to be a contributing factor in my patients’ pain, fatigue, bowel complaints, asthma and allergies. If you choose to include dairy, choose highly flavorful cheeses to use in limited quantities or fermented versions, such as yogurt or kefir.

The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) recommends 0.8 mg of protein per kg of body weight – about 55 grams for a 150 lb person – per day. I recommend this amount of protein be a combination of protein found in plants, animals, fish, nuts and legumes. Remember, plants also contain protein. There are approximately 5 grams of protein in a cup of collard greens, turnip greens, spinach or Brussels sprouts. Most vegetables have approximately 2 grams of protein per cup, and legumes have 15 grams of protein per cup.

Dr. Jennifer Gentry

Dr. Jennifer Gentry received her doctorate of naturopathic medicine (NMD) from the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine in Tempe, Arizona in 2007. By firmly adhering to the basic principles of naturopathic medicine, she promotes health and healing on all levels: physically, emotionally and spiritually. Her goal is to empower her patients with knowledge that enables them to reach and maintain optimal health. Dr. Gentry’s clinical focus and expertise are in areas of clinical nutrition, botanical medicine, lifestyle counseling, homeopathy, physical medicine, and women’s health. Her special interests include helping patients overcome hormone imbalance, infertility, pre/perimenopause, PCOS, thyroid disease, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, digestive disorders, fibromyalgia, asthma, allergies and autoimmune disorders.

Article courtesy of