Does An Order Of Onion Rings Count As One Vegetable Serving?

According to the food pyramid I am supposed to eat 3-5 servings of vegetables and 2-4 servings of fruit a day. Presently I am not in compliance with the pyramid. I barely have time to eat breakfast and lunch on most days, let alone plot inclusion of vegetable and fruits at every turn.

My one saving grace is my daily V-8 which counts as two servings of vegetables, but that is complicated by the sodium issues (and yes, I know they have a low sodium version, but it just doesn’t taste the same). I am fine with my salty V8 as a positive vegetable step but others question its qualification as a true vegetable serving given its drawbacks. I want to improve in this area as I know vegetables and fruit are important to maintaining one’s health, but I have some questions on this front regarding what actually qualifies.

The pyramid doesn’t give you anything but basic information, but my food choices beyond the produce aisle at the grocery store can be more complex. Not all things come with a label to tell you how many servings you are getting. Also, can you do all your servings at the same time and just get it over with? That makes sense to me from a utilitarian approach.

I like to do the right things – healthy things – but I need some help. I have questions about what counts and what doesn’t. I am hoping someone out there who understands all the complexities of these choices can answer some questions for me.

Does an order of onion rings count as one vegetable serving?

Is banana bread a fruit or a grain serving?

How much salsa do you need to eat with your chips to count as one vegetable serving?

Does a big slice of peach pie serve as two fruit servings?

When I eat pasta with a tomato-based sauce can I count that as a vegetable serving?

Is that little bowl of applesauce they give you at Perkins considered one fruit serving?

Raspberry vinaigrette dressing on a spinach salad – a fruit and vegetable serving?

How many McDonald’s apple pies do you need for one fruit serving (I am guessing two as they are two for a dollar)?

Do fruit loops have any real fruit in them?

If I eat a Taco John’s beef and potato burrito do the tater tots in the burrito count as a vegetable serving?

How about the lettuce and tomatoes in tacos at Taco Bell does that count as two vegetable servings?

Strawberry jam on toast – a fruit and a grain?

What about vegetable wraps…how many servings of vegetable do those count as?

How many jalapeño peppers do you need for one vegetable serving?

I surmise I could go on forever with this list. There simply is not enough guidance in this area beyond the basic apple, banana or salad. Don’t the pyramid folks know that the world is more complex than that? I know they reworked the pyramid recommendations a few years back, but they didn’t offer any new insight on the questions that plague me.

If anyone out there can help clear this up for me I would truly appreciate it. As for me, it is time for breakfast. I think I will stir in a healthy serving of strawberry jam into my oatmeal this morning – that has to count for something right?

Day seventy-three of the new forty – obla di obla da


5 Responses

  1. buffalogal

    well.let’s see if my years of wisdom on food can help you.

    If you eat sweet bars or cookies standing up they have no calories.

    The onion rings are vegetables–plus grains (the coating on them) We shall not talk about the fat they are fried in.

    If you cut really good “hip padder” bars into really small squares and eat them over a period of 4 hours, there aRe not many calories there either. (I have proved this with two friends years ago when the 3 of us “nickeled and dimed” a biog pan of hip padders over a whole afternoon (with many cups of coffee)

    The best complete meal I know of is a Taco Bell super burrito or a Taco Bell taco salad (ignoring the lard in the refried beans of course)

    There did I help you any????

  2. PrairieWoman

    Sorry have to throw a monkey wrench into your bowl of chaos: I was taught that potatoes are not vegetables they are legumes. So where do legumes fit in? Are legumes actually vegetables? Are they some alien food life form that really don’t have a proper place setting at the table? I’m so confused now I’m going to have to go and eat a Resee’s Peanut Butter cup which also means that Resee’s aren’t a vegetable source either cause nuts are legumes too. Aaaaahhhhhh!!!!!

  3. Kim

    Equally challenged as you in this department. My vote would be as follows:
    1. Just how many onion rings are we talkin that you are consuming? It could me more than 1 serving!
    2. Banana bread not only is fruit and grain.. but also Dairy! (last time I checked there was an egg in there, but considering it contains the yolk it may be considered sans healthy)
    3. Peach pie is not only fruit but also grain ( using whole wheat flour?)
    4. In reviewing my Fruit Loops ingredients box, it appears there is no fruit and I think we should sue for false advertising all these years!

    I think the Pyramid was made when what we ate was simple.. a banana, an orange, potatoes etc. What happens if you eat 7 layer salad, is that 7 servings in one? What about artichoke dip and chips? how many does one need to eat? The list does go on and on. I’m thinking we need one of those scales that people on serious weight loss programs use to measure everything, however certainly not handy when eating out, don’t mind me while I whip out my scale dear patrons! Potentially you should ask my favorite trainer… dear Jillian from Biggest Loser?

  4. jimlindlauf

    Where does a square meal fit on the food pyramid? There also seems to be no place for a well rounded diet. Obviously, nutritionists didn’t need to complete geometry in order to graduate!

  5. Ms. C

    Thank you all for the tremendous guidance. I almost wet my big girl panties I laughed so hard! You are funny folks – thanks for clearing up my dietary questions. 🙂


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