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The Florida Department of Health works to protect, promote & improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county, & community efforts.

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Getting Your Fruits and Veggies – Making It Easy

September 07, 2018

It’s no secret that most of us should eat more fruits and vegetables. Current data shows that very few Americans eat the recommended daily amount of fruits and vegetables, putting them at risk for chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease.

Based on the data, many people tend to not follow the teachings of past generations regarding this health habit. As far back as most of us can remember, our mothers instructed us to eat those vegetables so we could grow up strong and healthy! Of course, we wanted to grow up strong and healthy…so we ate them. Then we grew up, life got busy and we stopped paying attention to our fruit and vegetable intake. Current consumption rates indicate that we have forgotten what we were taught growing up: fruits and veggies are really good for you. Don’t tell Mom!

 

Look at the facts.

Only 27 percent of adults are eating the recommended daily amount of fruits and vegetables. Fruit and vegetable consumption among American youth is also low; just 9.5 percent of adolescents consume at least 2 servings of fruit and at least 3 servings of vegetables each day.

If percentages don’t paint a true picture of how significantly low these numbers really are, then consider this analogy to get a better visual. Think about your social media account and the people you share it with. For every 100 friends or followers you have on your social media account, it is most likely that only 3 of them on average is eating the recommended 2 fruits and 3 vegetables on a daily basis. And that’s the best case scenario.

So what does a person do? You can’t make eating your fruits and veggies the law of the land (unless your mother still has that kind of reach and dessert may still be a bargaining chip), but you can try to make the opportunity present itself more often so that it becomes easier to fall into this good habit.

Here are six suggestions to consider if you want more produce to find its way to your plate each day. And make sure your friends on social media know all about these too.

 

  1. Keep track of how many fruits and vegetables you are eating. First of all, you need to take stock of how many fruits and veggies you eat throughout the day. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a daily amount of 2 to 3 cups of vegetables and 1.5 to 2 cups of fruits.
  2. Plan to eat fruits and vegetables with each meal and snack. To get in the recommended 5 servings of fruits and vegetables each day, start eating them early with your morning meal. Don’t wait until dinner time!
  3. Make it easy to eat your fruits and vegetables. If peeling, chopping, and cleaning up feels like too much work, take advantage of pre-cut, pre-washed fresh fruit and vegetables, such as cubed melon or pineapple, baby carrots, celery sticks, and bagged salad greens.
  4. Don’t hide fruits and vegetables in the crisper. Make fruits and vegetables visible to encourage everyone in your family, including yourself, to eat them. That way you’ll be more likely to eat them. Put out an empty bowl on the counter and let the kids fill it with their produce choices for the week.
  5. Eat fruits and vegetables that are in season. Fresh fruit and vegetables tend to be less expensive when they're in season. Take the kids out for an adventure! For the freshest selection, seek out a farmer's market, or pick your own fruit and vegetables at an orchard or a farm.
  6. Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables. - Explore the produce aisle and choose something new; at least one new fruit or vegetable every week. This will prevent boredom and encourage healthy eating.

 

September is Fruits and Veggies – More Matters Month the Florida Department of Health is celebrating all of the positive benefits of eating the recommend daily amount of vegetables and fruits.