We all have heard the nutritional advice since we were kids. “Eat your veggies, finish your fruit.” It is abundantly clear that eating lots of vegetables and fruits maximizes the chances of avoiding heart disease and stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, some types of cancer, diverticulitis, cataracts, and macular degeneration.What does “lots” mean? The latest dietary guidelines call for five to thirteen servings of fruits and vegetables a day (2½ to 6½ cups per day), depending on one’s caloric intake. For a person who needs 2,000 calories a day to maintain weight and health, this translates into nine servings, or 4½ cups per day including 2 cups of fruit and 2½ cups of vegetables.For most fresh or cooked vegetables and fruits, 1 cup is just what you would put in a household measuring cup. There are two main exceptions to that rule: For lettuce and other raw leafy greens, you need to eat 2 cups to get the equivalent of 1 cup of vegetables. For dried fruit, you only need to eat ½ cup to get the equivalent of 1 cup of fruit.Many people find eating this many servings of fruits and vegetables every day challenging, and the failure rate is high. When I advise patients to load up their diet with the benefits of vegetables and fruits, I offer them some shortcuts, hoping they’ll adopt them to enjoy the benefits of plant-based nutrition.