Did you know that less than 1/3 of all U.S. adults consume enough fruits and vegetables on a daily basis? In fact it is reported, in an article on the WebMD site, that not one state meets the recommended goals for the appropriate consumption of fruits and vegetables; Washington D.C. doesn’t either.
On a daily basis, it is recommended that adults must eat at least 5 servings (2 of fruit, and 3 of vegetables) as part of a balanced diet. However, barely 27% of all adults will reach this goal.
The government feels that at least 75% of people (age 2 and older) should meet this fruit consumption goal and 50% should meet the vegetable consumption goal within the next couple of years. The problem is that America has a really long way to go before we are able to reach these goals because not only do we love high calorie foods but they are also cheaper than the healthier counterparts.
Why Is Eating Fruits and Vegetables So Important?
It is important to eat the daily recommended amount of fruits and vegetables because the consumption of these healthy foods helps to drastically reduce the future risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, certain types of cancers, and some chronic diseases. In addition, when eat more fruits and vegetables (especially as a substitute for higher calorie foods) they will help you manage your weight and add an extra boost of energy.
In addition, it is important to note that, the amount of fruits and vegetables that every individual should consume varies and is based on the energy needs of each person. For example, if you regularly consume about 2,000 calories a day, your recommended intake should be about 3 cups of vegetables and 2 cups of fruit every day.
Those who are most likely to eat the daily recommended amount of fruits and vegetables include:
- College graduates
- Those who earn less than fifty thousand a year
- People over the age of 65.
This information comes from a report that appeared in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
In addition, when it comes to the calculations concerning compliance, it is important to note that while fruit juice does count towards our fruit consumption goals, other favorites like fried potatoes, potato chips, and French fries don’t.
What about the Children?
The report only includes information pertaining to adults, but this doesn’t mean that children and teens are meeting their consumption goals either. In fact, it is safe to say that they also need to improve their fruit and vegetable intake.
Serving Sizes of Fruits and Vegetables
Do you want to meet the CDC approved amount of fruit and vegetable consumption? If so, check out the following guides to help you determine the right serving sizes.
- Half a grapefruit
- 1 medium sized piece of fruit
- ¼ cup of dried fruit
- ¼ of a small cantaloupe
- 12 grapes
- ½ cup of berries
- ¾ cup of 100% fruit juice
One serving of vegetables is equivalent to:
- 1 cup of raw, leafy vegetables e.g. a small salad
- ½ cup of chopped vegetables
- 6-8 3 inch carrot sticks
- 1 medium sized potato
- ¾ cup of vegetable juice
- ½ cup of peas or beans
If you would like your children to eat more fruits and vegetables, it is important to note that they will be more likely to eat healthier food when they are readily available at home and when the entire family is present at meal time.