Are You Eating Your Fruits and Veggies?

Lisa Nelson, RD, LN Health Pro
  • Guess what? According to recent telephone surveys by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention we are still not eating enough fruits and vegetables . . . we're even eating less!


    The objections of Healthy People 2010, set up by the US government back in 2000, were to have 75% of Americans eating at least two servings of fruit per day and 50% to consume a minimum of 3 vegetable servings daily.


    When progress was checked in 2009 results are discouraging. The percent of adults meeting the fruit objective dropped from 34.4% in 2000 to 32.5% in 2009. That means 67.5% of adults eat fewer than 2 fruit servings daily.

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    Vegetable intake has remained fairly unchanged since 2000, which means almost 75% of Americans eat fewer than 3 vegetable servings daily.


    Not surprisingly, the report identifies the top vegetable choice was potatoes and the preferred fruit source was orange juice.


    Why worry so much about fruit/vegetable intake when there are bigger issues to face?


    Well, fruits and vegetables have a direct impact on health and rising health care costs are a major concern in our country.


    A diet rich in fruits and vegetables is essential for a healthy weight and prevention of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancers, and other health complications. If you have high blood pressure this is especially relevant to you. The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet has been shown to lower blood pressure levels in as little as 2 weeks. The DASH diet includes 8-10 FRUIT AND VEGETABLE SERVINGS DAILY!


    So, let's do a little review of what counts as 1 serving.

    1 serving of fruit
    1 medium whole fruit
    ½ cup canned, fresh, or frozen fruit
    4 oz. fruit juice
    ¼ cup dried fruit


    1 serving of vegetables
    1 cup raw leafy vegetables
    ½ cup cut up raw or canned vegetables
    ½ cup vegetable juice


    Here are a few tips to easily boost your fruit and vegetable intake:

    1. Keep a bowl of whole fruit on the table or counter as a visual reminder and quick/easy grab.
    2. Purchase dried, frozen, and canned (in light syrup or packed in it's on juice) fruit, along with fresh fruit so you always have a fruit option on hand.
    3. Stock up on frozen vegetables which are quick and easy to microwave.
    4. Buy fresh veggies that are easy to prepare, such as pre-washed bags of leafy greens.
    5. Get in the habit of having at least 1 fruit or vegetable with every meal and snack.

    Be sure to sign up for the free ecourse 7 Natural Ways to Lower Blood Pressure provided by Health Central's dietitian Lisa Nelson at


Published On: September 13, 2010