According to the USDA food pyramid, adults should be eating around 2 cups of fruits and 3 cups of vegetables every day. A recent CDC survey revealed that, on average, we’re falling far short.
It’s not a minority of Americans who need to up their game when it comes to produce. According to the survey, “in 2009, an estimated 32.5% of adults consumed fruit two or more times per day and 26.3% consumed vegetables three or more times per day, far short of the national targets.” Pretty pitiful.
They did note that the numbers varied greatly from state to state, but only one state saw an increase in fruit and vegetable consumption: Idaho. Idaho didn’t have the highest numbers overall, just the largest increase. Percentages for fruit and vegetable consumption ranged from around 18% to just over 40%.
Still, that means that less than half of us aren’t getting all of the fruits or veggies (or both) that we need to stay healthy. Some say that we need to eat more fruits and veggies than the USDA recommends, which means we could be in even worse shape than this survey suggests.
Analyzing and Increasing Your Intake
Not sure if you’re getting enough fruit and veggie action in your diet? Try keeping a food journal for a week or two to see how you’re doing. You might be surprised!
If you’re looking to up your fruit and veggie consumption, it might help to break things down into meals:
- At breakfast: You can slice a banana or toss a handful of berries onto your cereal. Maybe you can replace the bacon with fruit or add veggies to your omelette or tofu scramble.
- For lunch: Start things out with a green salad, opt for a vegetable soup or baked potato instead of fries, or try a roasted vegetable sandwich instead of a meat-based one.
- At dinner time: Try substituting a meat-based meal with one that centers on tasty veggies. A vegetable roast is usually a crowd pleaser, or you might opt for pasta or rice with steamed or sauteed vegetables. If you’re not ready to skip the meat in your meal, you can try making the meat into a side instead of the main event.
- For dessert: Rather than cookies or cake, slice up some fruit for dessert. You can dress things up with chocolate sauce or even a scoop of ice cream, so you can get that last serving of fruit while still feeling decadent!
Need some recipes to get you started? Our Vegetarian and Vegan archive is full of delicious, vegetable-based recipes to help you work more healthy food into your day to day!
Do you have any favorite ways to sneak more fruits and veggies into your meals? I’d love to hear them in the comments!
[h/t: Mother Nature Network]
Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by karimian