You're asking and I'm answering . . .
"I have read before that the 'medium apple' is no longer at all the average size of apples we'll find in the store . . . what's the REAL deal with that issue? What is the size of a medium apple? A medium banana? A medium peach? And then . . . what are the calorie differences per fruit? Does size really matter there too?"
Wow, you have a lot of good questions — I am going to do my best to answer them, so
To start, here is what one serving of fruits and vegetables literally means:
- 1/2 cup of fruit
- 1 medium piece of fruit
- 1/4 cup of dried fruit
- 3/4 cup (6 ounces) of 100% fruit or vegetable juice
- 1 cup of leafy vegetables
- 1/2 cup of cooked or raw vegetables
I know, I know. This still doesn't tell you what that looks like in terms of the foods, so this should help clarify:
- 1 medium piece of fruit: the size of a tennis ball
- 1 cup vegetables or fruit: the size of a baseball
- 1 medium potato: the size of a computer mouse
- 1/2 cup of grapes: one bunch the size of a light bulb
- 1 cup of lettuce: 4 leaves
Obviously if you have a really huge apple and a really small apple, the calorie counts will be different but I generally tell people not to worry about the calorie counts in their fruits and vegetables (unless it's dried fruit or juice) because they pale in comparison to all the wonderful nutrients you'll be getting if you eat it. Also, I tend to have the theory that more is better when it comes to eating fruits and veggies, so if you think you may be lagging in your five a day it definitely doesn't hurt to eat some more.