Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Are You Eating Your Fruits and Vegetables?

When it comes to most Americans, many of us aren’t consuming enough of these healthful foods.  A recent analysis conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports only 13.1% of Americans are eating enough fruit and a shocking 8.9% of Americans are eating enough vegetables.  Each state varied in consumption, with California ranking the highest in consumption of both fruits and vegetables, Tennessee consuming the least amount of fruit and Mississippi consuming the least amount of vegetables.  According to Medical News Today, a survey that was conducted from 2007-2010, indicated that “half of the US population consumed under 1 cup of fruits and under 1.5 cups of vegetables a day.”

Fruits and vegetables not only add beneficial color to your plate, but they include essential nutrients that have been known to reduce the risk for heart disease, stroke, and even some types of cancers.  In addition, fruits and vegetables have a low calorie density, which when eaten in place of foods that are more calorie dense, can help with weight loss and maintenance.
The amount considered “enough” is different for everyone and varies depending on age, sex, and activity level.  Some tips to help increase your intake of fruits and vegetables include:

·      Aim to make half of your plate fruits and vegetables
·      Pair raw veggies with hummus for a crunchy snack
·      Save time by utilizing frozen vegetables in recipes
·      Add greens such as spinach or kale to soups, stews, and casseroles
·      Top your salad with dried or fresh fruit
·      Buy pre-washed bags of vegetables and cut-up containers of fruit
·      Head to the grocery store or farmers market and pick up something new to you
·      Wash and cut fresh fruit and vegetables and place them in a see-through container in the fridge for easy snacking

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