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How to Eat More Fruits and Vegetables

How to Eat More Fruits and Vegetables

How to Eat More Fruits and Vegetables

Common Ways to Add More Produce to Your Diet 

This time of year most everyone is trying to eat healthier. Whether weight loss is your goal, you want to improve your health, or you simply want to drop the junk from your diet, more fruits and vegetables is likely high on your to-do list. 

The idea of eating more fruits and vegetables may seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be hard. In a 2016 study published in the journal Public Health Nutrition, researchers from the CDC explored how Americans who ate the recommended amount of produce incorporated fruits and vegetables into their diet. No photo-staging, filtering or editing here, just real information from real people eating real food. 

Using dietary questionnaires from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), investigators estimated produce consumption among 17,571 people aged two years or older. Based on USDA recommendations*, 22% of adults and 53% of children met the daily recommendation for fruit, while just 17% of adults and 27% of children met the daily recommendation for vegetables. 

So how were those people reaching those goals? They weren’t doing anything special; they just ate more. They did things we all sometimes do: eat raw fruit as a snack, add vegetables to sandwiches, make salads and stir-frys and eat fruit with their breakfasts. They just did it every day. 

Overall, this is pretty good news. You don’t have to make major changes to your diet to get in enough fruits and vegetables; you just need to eat more of the produce and less of everything else. Small shifts, like adding more banana slices and less granola to your yogurt, swapping carrot sticks for chips with hummus, or using more spinach and mushrooms and less pasta with your dinner can make a big difference. More fruits and vegetables and less of everything else could mean reduced risk of illness and chronic disease, greater control of weight, and even increased mood. Happy New Year to that! 

Swap out the pasta and bring on the veggies with our Kale & Zucchini Pesto Noodles!

Age and Sex Group
Fruits (cups)
 Vegetables (cups) 
Children 2-3 years
 1  1
Children 4-8 years
 1-1.5  1.5
Females 9-13 years
 1.5  2
Females 14-18 years
 1.5 2.5
Females 19-30 years
 2 2.5
Females 31-50 years
 1.5 2.5
Females over 50 years
 1.5 2
Males 9-13 years
 1.5 2.5
Males 14-50 years
 2 3
Males over 50 years
 2 2.5

Published January 1, 2017
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