Wednesday, October 6, 2010

What percentage of US adults consume the recommended amounts of fruits and veggies daily?

First, what are the recommendations for fruit and vegetable consumption?
  • 2 or more servings of fruit per day  AND
  • 3 or more servings of vegetables per day

So, how did we do America?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that in 2009 only 33% of adults consumed fruit 2 or more times per day and only 26% of adults consumed vegetables 3 or more times per day.
Looks like we could use a lot of improvement! 

Eating fruits and vegetables (F&V) has so many benefits:
  • Reduced risks of chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes, and obesity. F&V are loaded with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and beneficial phytochemicals which all contribute to optimal health and wellness. 
  • Most Americans do not meet the daily recommendations for fiber intake (25-35 grams per day). This deficiency in fiber intake has been linked to constipation, diverticular disease, and colon cancers. Guess what? F&V are also great sources of fiber, so eating your F&V may help with constipation and diseases of the colon as well.
  • Eating fresh F&V adds volume and bulk to your diet, helping you feel full and potentially eat less. This is a great tool for weight management. 

Now that we know the benefits of eating more F&V, how do we add more into our diets?

Tips for Breakfast (yes, you should be eating breakfast...please see my last blog if you are not.)
  • slice a banana into your morning bowl of cereal
  • sprinkle 2 Tbsp of raisins or dried cranberries on your bowl of oatmeal
  • pair an apple or pear with a granola bar for a quick on-the-go breakfast
  • enjoy a 1/2 cup of orange juice with your bagel
  • make a breakfast smoothie: blend together a 1/2 cup low-fat milk, 1 banana, 1/2 cup frozen berries, and 1/2 cup yogurt.
Tips for Lunch
  • add extra produce (lettuce, tomato, cucumber, green peppers, etc) to your deli sandwich
  • have a side salad (go easy on the dressing)
  • enjoy pre-cut veggies in a bag (i.e. baby carrots) with lunch
  • add a piece of whole fruit to your lunch (apple, pear, orange, etc)
  • spread a whole wheat tortilla with 1 Tbsp peanut butter and then wrap it around a peeled banana..another great on-the-go meal! got milk?
Tips for Dinner
  • fill half of your dinner plate with veggies. This is also a great weight-loss tool.
  • chop dark green veggies and add to your stews, casseroles, and pasta sauces. If the kids are not big fans of vegetables, this is a great way to sneak them in.
  • make home-made veggie pizza with an array of vegetables such as zucchini, broccoli, spinach, peppers, tomatoes, etc.
  • grill colorful vegetable kabobs with tomatoes, green and red peppers, mushrooms, onions, etc
  • make a quick fruit salad with sliced bananas, canned pineapple & peaches in juice, and strawberries.
Tips for Snacking
  • berries (blueberries, strawberries, etc) or grapes are great little sweet snacks on their own
  • add berries to your yogurt container
  • mix together a 1/4 cup of dried fruit with a handful of nuts
  • spread 1 Tbsp of peanut butter on slices of apple or celery 
  • snack on sugar snap peas, cherry tomatoes, or green pepper strips with 2 Tbsp reduced-fat ranch dressing 
Add some color to your life and to your meals with F&V. Your body and your mind will thank you!

Fuel Excellence

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