By: Elizabeth Jarrard
The National Fruit and Vegetable Alliance (NFVA) recently released a report that showed in an average day, only 6 percent of individuals consume the recommended amount of vegetables and 8 percent the recommended amount of fruit. The US’s report card didn’t look to great, and even received a couple Fs.
The societal cost of NOT eating fruits and vegetables: $56.2 billion (grew 9% each year over last 5 years), growing health care cost of treating diet-related diseases To put this in perspective, eight of the states with the lowest fruit and vegetable consumption are also in the top 10 states with the highest obesity rates. William Dietz, M.D., Ph.D., director of CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity said,
“A diet high in fruits and vegetables helps maintain a healthy weight and reduces the risk of several serious, chronic diseases. We need to continue our effort in making the healthy choice the easy choice.”
Fruits and vegetables are cancer fighters, heart protectors, and just plain delicious. And as Joan Salge-Blake RD, always says, “They’ll fill you UP before they fill you OUT.”
So how can you make the healthy choice and increase your fruit and vegetable consumption? Here are some great tips from the Fruits & vegetables: More Matters Campaign.
- Pick up a banana or apple in the dining hall and eat it as a snack
- Pack a healthy lunch, with at least
- Add strawberries, blueberries, or bananas to your waffles, pancakes, cereal, oatmeal, or toast.
- Top toasted whole-grain bread with peanut butter and sliced bananas.
- Add vegetables like bell peppers, broccoli, spinach, mushrooms or tomatoes to your egg or egg white omelet.
- Add some cooked dry beans to your salad. Or, if you have a sweet tooth, add chopped apples, pears, or raisins.
- Have soup. You can stick with the basics like tomato or vegetable soup or mix up some minestrone or veggie chili to cut winter’s chill. When possible, choose soups with less sodium.
- Try eating at least 2 vegetables with dinner
- Snack on vegetables like bell pepper strips and broccoli with hummus
- Stash bags of dried fruit at your desk for a convenient snack.
- Drink a fruit smoothie made with whole fruit, ice cubes, and low-fat or fat-free yogurt.
- Top a cup of fat-free or low-fat yogurt with sliced fresh fruit.
- Canned, dried, and frozen fruits and vegetables are also good options. Look for fruit without added sugar or syrups and vegetables without added salt, butter, or cream sauces.
- Ants on a log isn’t just for kids- put some natural peanut butter on celeries and top with raisins·