How Many Veggies Should You Eat a Day? (Vegetable Eating Challenge)

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How Many Veggies Should You Eat a Day? (Vegetable Eating Challenge) |

In all my years of researching and experimenting with various diets for optimal health, the common theme I've found among them all is the inclusion of lots of vegetables.

Vegetables are foundational for good health and many of us don't get enough of them.

Eating more vegetables is a great way to fill up on nutrients rather than empty calories; fueling our bodies with a myriad of powerful healing properties.

I was intrigued (and surprised) when reading the The Calorie Myth by Jonathan Bailor — in it he suggests eating 10 servings of vegetables a day! 10.

I decided to give it a try and quickly realized that I wasn't eating nearly that many.

But once I started to pay more attention (and plan ahead), it was not that hard to do.

After seeing Jonathan Bailor recommend this high amount of vegetables, I noticed that Dr. Sara Gottfried also recommends her patients eat 1 pound of vegetables a day (check out her book, The Hormone Reset Diet for hormone related help).

So then I got curious. WHY so many vegetables?


Benefits of Eating Vegetables

Well, as it turns out, there are a lot of great reasons for consuming veggies. Here are a few:

  • overall feeling of well-being
  • helps maintain healthy weight
  • relief from constipation
  • better hormone balance
  • clearer skin
  • create an alkaline environment in the body (which is the state we want! The other option is acidic – which is where diseases like to grow)
  • reduce risk of heart disease
  • may reduce risk of cancer
  • balances blood sugar
  • and much, MUCH more!

Why Non-Starchy Vegetables

Starchy vegetables are not completely off the table, but since they are higher in carbohydrates, and generally lower in fiber, the should be eaten mindfully. Starchy vegetables are often easy to overeat.

Non-starchy vegetables are usually higher in fiber than starchy vegetables and contain fewer simple sugars and carbs. They are also lower in calories. 

Non-starchy vegetables are especially helpful for those battling high blood sugar or who have weight to lose. They provide an low-calorie, low-sugar, nutrient-rich way to fill up.

Examples of Non-Starchy Vegetables

This is not an exhaustive list, but it gives you a pretty good idea of some of the most common non-starchy vegetables:

Alfalfa Sprouts
Bean Sprouts
Bell Peppers
Bok Choy
Brussels Sprouts
Dandelion Greens
Green Beans
Mixed greens
Mustard Greens
Romaine Lettuce
Snow Peas
Sugar Snap Peas

The Challenge

For the next ten weeks, I'm going to firm up this vegetable eating habit and thought you might like to join me.

I'll be posting an update plus a veg-heavy recipe or suggestion each Thursday.

All you have to do is aim to eat 10 servings of non-starchy vegetables a day. Don't feel like you have to eat that many on the very first day! Gradually build up to it. (That's why the challenge is ten weeks long!).

Maybe all you will do this week is eat one extra serving on vegetables a day. Whatever you feel you can actually stick with is the way to go.

What is a Serving Size?

A serving size of most non-starchy vegetables is about 1 cup (raw). This doesn't include leafy greens. It takes about two to three cups of raw leafy greens to make one serving. (But as you probably know, two to three cups of leafy greens, such as spinach, can cook down to less than half it's originally size.)

Free Veggie Eating Tracker

Download and print the vegetable eating tracker to help you keep track of how many veggies you are consuming.

Click this link or the image below to download.

Veggie tracker

Note: The list of non-starchy vegetables listed on this printable is not exhaustive. There are other non-starchy veggies!

Use the hashtag #DELIGHTFULVEG

Share your pictures, progress, struggles, and triumphs on social media using the hashtag #DELIGHTFULVEG. I'll be following a long and commenting on as many posts as I can.

I can't wait to see what you're eating!

How many servings of vegetables do you eat a day?

P.S. Leave me a comment and let me know if you'll be joining me in this challenge.

We can do this!

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  1. I’ve been trying to up the amount of veggies I eat. Im nowhere near 10!! This challenge will be good for me 🙂

    1. Yay! That’s great! Any improvement is a step in the right direction, I think! 5 or 6 is pretty good 🙂 Glad you’ll be joining me.

  2. Hi! I have been incredibly ill and have suffered from a rare, immensely painful nerve disorder for three years now, that a failed brain surgery, two additional surgeries, medications and nerve blocks have failed to help. Since I hurt so much my diet and my family’s diet has gone down the drain. I love cooking from scratch, but doing so takes over three hours now. I have gained a massive amount of weight as a result of medications, bed rest after surgeries and not making healthy dinners and snacks. I’m not any better, but I have to get my weight under control. I can’t go anywhere without someone commenting on my baby about to be born any day now. I’m humiliated that I appear 9 months pregnant. I would love to join your challenge-especially because I just purchased a spiralizer and a blender for healthy smoothies. Thanks!

    1. Hi Tracy,

      Sending you hugs! That’s really tough!

      I’m cheering you on as you strive to make changes. You can do it. Try not to do too much at once. I don’t want you to get burned out.

      A spiralizer and blender will be a great help! Green smoothies are an excellent way to get in extra veggies. I’ve enjoyed making zucchini noodles with my spiralizer. They taste good and are a fun change.

      I’m looking forward to hearing about your progress.

  3. I just printed out the tracker for myself and two kids (15 and 18 years old). I’m going to challenge them to a week. I wont have trouble with my 18 year old son but my 15 year old daughter will kick and scream. I am trying to get her to become aware of what she is putting in her body. Wish me luck!

  4. I’m excited about the challenge and would love to join. I have really bad asthma and I’m on steroids every month almost. I’m trying a new medicine but I also need to change my eating habits. I will try very hard to be mindful. It will be a challenge but I’m up for it. Good luck to everyone. Please if you have any recipes send them my way.

    1. Kimberly,

      I’m so glad you are taking steps to improve your health. It’s not easy, that’s for sure. but it will be worth it. I hope you feel better soon!

      You will find some good recipes on this Pinterest board:

      It is run by the people that are behind the Calorie Myth (the book I mentioned above).

  5. Wow would love to join the challenge!! I love the tracker and I think the time frame is perfect to make slow and steady progress creating a long term habit.

    1. Yay, Phyllis! So glad to have you join in!

      I’m happy to hear you love the tracker 🙂

      I agree about the length of time. I need to go slow to make habits stick.

  6. Would love to join the challenge! Recently diagnosed as “pre-diabetic.” Working at increasing my veggies and other healthy things. Bring on the veggies! Looking for new ideas on how to incorporate them!

    1. Kathy,
      This is a perfect challenge for you being diagnosed as “pre-diabetic.” In fact, Jonathan Bailor (author of the Calorie Myth) talks a lot about how this way of eating helps in that regard. I’m excited for you to join in and kick pre-diabetes to the curb!

  7. I printed the tracker and I am going to challenge my family (husband and 5 children ages 4-16) to tackle this with me. My youngest will be the easiest as she eats and enjoys vegetables already. With 2 of us having an auto-immune disease and my husband wanting to lose weight, this can only help. Looking forward to the recipes!

    1. This is awesome news, Heather! I love that you are going to do this with your family. Everyone will benefit!

      Here’s to feeling better 🙂

  8. Not to be too nit-picky, but do veggie burgers count? And what is a serving size of garlic – surely not one cup, right? Are frozen vegetables okay or only fresh?

    1. I’m not sure about the garlic! Maybe you can just measure it along with other veggies? Sorta just throw them in together and guess? (I know that’s not overly helpful! That’s what I would do though).

      I think veggie burgers are ok, but you might want to take a look at the ingredients to see how many veggies are included.

      Frozen veggies are fine! In fact, sometimes they are better. Many veggies are frozen at the height of freshness so they could have even more nutritional value than some veggies that have been sitting at the store for a few days.

      Just do your best.

      Glad to have you along for the ride!

  9. Hi …love this, it was just the right timing for me too. Recovering from long term illness, medication and loss of energy have meant I have piled on the pounds.

    Since the weekend I am hitting 8 per day but am upping my veg box order to make sure I have plenty in…really enjoying it.

  10. Hi, Stacy!

    We linked to your challenge in a program we are doing over at, but the link to the printable is broken. Is there another link we can source for our readers? Thanks so much!