What’s the Challenge?
Eat 800 (g) grams (total) of fruits and/or vegetables per day and reduce your risk of cancer, coronary heart disease, stroke, cardiovascular disease and perhaps most importantly, all-cause mortality(1)
Since the gym is going to be closed for longer than we anticipated, we are going to be unrolling a few virtual challenges for you to keep you engaged, and to shift your focus to some areas in your fitness that may need some attention. The first one is going to be a nutritional challenge. Many of you have been tracking your intake and nutrition already and have seen great results over the past few months, and you will be able to incorporate this challenge into your current eating habits. Those of you who have no idea what to do nutrition wise or are intimidated – don’t be! This challenge is going to be simple and is intended to build a solid foundation of what your diet should look like so that you can then adapt your eating to fit your needs.
So, what is it? We are doing an 800 gram challenge. Your goal will be to eat 800 grams of fruits and vegetables each day.
Wait, 800 grams? That’s a lot! Yes and no. If you don’t eat any vegetables or fruits right now, then yes, it probably is. But many of you probably already do eat 800 grams each day and just don’t know it because you don’t weigh your food. Your goal will be to eat 800 grams, or as much as you are able to.
One thing to mention here, is that this is 800 grams of total weight, not 800 grams of carbohydrates. What is the difference? Well, each piece of fruit or vegetable has a total weight, let’s say 85 grams. Within that 85 gram serving of food there may only be 11 grams of carbohydrates, maybe some protein, and depending on the food, some fat. We are counting the 85 grams!
How to measure your food
Some of you may be thinking, all of this sounds great, but how do I do it? You have a couple of options.
- The best and easiest way is to use a food scale. You can pick them up pretty much anywhere (Walmart, Amazon, etc.) and they are very useful. You put your food on the scale, and it tells you how much it weighs. In this instance you would only weigh the portion of food you intend to eat (exclude seeds, rinds, cores, etc.)
- If you are eating frozen or canned fruit and vegetables, there will be a serving size indicated on the nutritional information. Using my example above, a frozen bag of veggies in my freezer has a serving size of ⅔ cup (85 grams). If you do not have a scale, you would just use a measuring cup and then do some simple math to figure out your weight. Let’s say you ate a whole cup of the frozen veggies. Your weight would then be: (1 cup*85 grams)/(⅔ cup) = 127.5 grams.
- You can also use the internet. Type in “how much does XXXXX weigh” and you will usually get way too many links to click. I did it for “how much does an apple weigh” and found this page: https://hannaone.com/Recipe/weightapple.html. Some sites will give you info based on size like this one, but at the very least you should be able to find how much an average piece of fruit or vegetable weighs.
- One final option, and not as ideal, is to weigh it at the grocery store. Most stores still have scales hanging by the produce so you can always plop your produce on the tray before you leave to get an indication of how much it weighs.
What should I eat?
Fruits and vegetables, duh. This may seem obvious, but try to eat as many fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables as possible. These are generally your best bet. However, feel free to indulge in canned versions as well if you have them, but avoid the sugar syrup drenched fruits and desert-ish varieties (things like maraschino cherries and sweet potatoes doused in sugar and marshmallow).
Another recommendation is to eat foods you like. This challenge will be a lot easier if you are not forcing yourself to consume products that you do not like. While not recommended, you could eat your entire 800 grams worth in apples. Does it count? Yes. Is it sustainable? No. Explore a little, but what we are trying to do here is get you eating enough fruits and vegetables, not necessarily getting you to try new types. Once you get used to the new (probably higher) volume of fruits and veggies, then feel free to experiment with the selection of items.
How to log your score
Each day on Wodify there will be an 800 gram Challenge workout under the Crossfit Programming. If you attend the morning or evening virtual classes we will sign you in and you will be able to log your score (as weight) on Wodify. If you ate 846 grams, you would log your score as 0.85 kg, and you can save it. Wodify will most likely convert to pounds for you, so just be aware of that.
If you don’t attend a virtual class, you can still log your score. On a computer, go to “My Performance” -> “Add Performance” -> Select “Metcon” for the Type -> Select “800 gram Challenge” for the Component -> Save. You will then enter your score. On Mobile, go to “Performance History” -> “Add” -> Select “Metcon” for the Type -> Select “800 gram Challenge” for the Component -> Save. You will then enter your score. It’s pretty straightforward, but we will get a video tutorial up for you soon in case there is any confusion.
What do we get out of this?
Well now you’re just being selfish. But in all seriousness, we will award some prizes to the top 3 weights of fruits and veggies consumed over the week. However, what everyone will receive from this challenge is a healthier lifestyle and a basis for setting good eating habits. Not only will this improve your fitness, but it will make you a healthier and happier person, and give you a better relationship with food.
(1) Aune, D., Giovannucci, E., Boffetta, P., Fadness, L.T., Keum, N., Norat, T., … Tonstad, S. (2017). Fruit and vegetable intake and the risk of cardiovascular disease, total cancer and all-cause mortality-a systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of prospective studies. International Journal of Epidemiology, 46(3), 1029-1056. doi: 10.1093/ije/dyw319
Cooked vs Raw Food
Best practice for THIS challenge is to weigh the veggies/fruit as you are going to eat them (raw or cooked). During cooking, fruits and vegetables lose water (https://freefoodtips.com/food-shrinkage-chart/
), so cooked vegetables will generally weigh less than their raw counterparts. For this challenge, we are tracking consumption on a weight basis, so stick with weighing the food as you will eat it.
Are Beans and Peas (Legumes) Vegetables?
Note: “beans and peas” does not refer to green peas, green lima beans, and green (string) beans – these are clearly vegetables. Per the USDA (https://www.choosemyplate.gov/eathealthy/vegetables/vegetables-beans-and-peas
), technically, beans and peas can be considered both a vegetable and a protein. For this challenge, I would ask that you use their recommendation that “Generally, individuals who regularly eat meat, poultry, and fish would count beans and peas in the Vegetable Group. Vegetarians, vegans, and individuals who seldom eat meat, poultry, or fish would count some of the beans and peas they eat in the Protein Foods Group.”