By Heather Butscher, MS, RD, LD
Outpatient Clinical Dietitian
University Hospitals Health System
Americans are just not meeting the fruit and vegetable recommendations. If fruits and vegetables are so important, then why aren’t Americans eating enough? The United States Department of Agriculture suggests a minimum of two servings of fruit per day and three servings of vegetables per day. However, a 2012 study shows that only 33% of adults eat enough fruit and only 27% of adults eat enough servings of vegetables per day. The statistics are even worse for high school students. Less than one third of high school students eat enough fruit and a dismal 13% eat the minimum servings of vegetables daily.
Eating enough fruits and vegetables are a part of a healthy diet. Fruits and vegetables are important as they contain nutrients such as vitamins A, C, and vitamin K as well as potassium, fiber, and magnesium. Fruits and vegetables are associated with the reduced risk of many chronic diseases and since they are relatively low in calories, they can replace higher calorie foods to aid in weight loss. If fruits and vegetables are so important, then why aren’t Americans eating enough?
Consuming more fruits and vegetables does not have to be hard. Below are some pratical tips for making sure you get your five a day:
- Make half of your plate at each meal fruits and vegetables.
- Focus your meal around vegetables such as beans instead of meat.
- Keep a bowl of whole fruit on the table, counter, or in the refrigerator for easy access.
- Always travel with a fruit for a snack.
- Stock up on frozen vegetables for last minute addition to meals and easy cooking in the microwave.
- Buy produce from local farmers and buy-in season.
Interested in bringing this message to your employees? ERC member organizations receive discounts on corporate wellness services through University Hospitals, including nutrition seminars brought on site to your organization.