- 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.
- 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?
- 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.
- 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