Everybody is different and the challenge has to fit you. If you are not comfortable, you might not continue. "No pain, no gain" is out, and "slow and steady" is in. For most people, measured, steady progress to a personalized goal is the right way to make long-term lifestyle changes that stick.
To help you set a realistic, personalized goal, it's good to know your baseline.
Finding your baseline
Use the 5-A-Day scorecard to tack your fruit and vegetable servings for a few days. In the mean time, ask yourself a few questions:
- What are my five favorite vegetables?
- Does the main cook in my life (yourself, your spouse or partner, your child, etc.) know ways to cook vegetables the way I like them?
- Does the main food-shopper in my life know how to shop for fresh vegetables?
- Is there space to store fresh or frozen vegetables at home?
- Am I more likely to eat vegetables (a) in a stew, (b) on noodles, rice, pasta, or pizza, (c) as a cooked side-dish, (d) raw in a salad, or (e) as a snack?
- Do I even like vegetables?
Ask the same sorts of things about fruit, then decide how easy—or not easy—it will be to eat vegetables and fruit more often. Think about the answers to these questions, and then pick a goal.
Nutritionists say that the health benefits are greatest when you eat 5-9 servings a day. They also say that every serving you add from zero to five benefits your health. So find the personal pace that fits; you'll be a winner for life!