Farmers across America work hard to produce quality fruit and vegetables for consumers to eat and stay healthy. But, according to a new government report, only about one in every 10 Americas consumes enough fruits and vegetables in his or her diet.
According to the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, people should eat between five and 13 servings of fruits and vegetables per day. This equals to approximately two and a half to six and a half cups each day, which depends on a number of calories a person needs to consume for his or her weight and daily activities. An individual who consumes 2,000 calories per day should eat nine servings that equal to about four and a half cups of fruits and vegetables. However, fruit and vegetable consumption is extremely low and getting worse in the United States.
The United States Department of Agriculture has created guidelines to help Americans not only eat healthier but ensure they are getting the required fruits and vegetables in their diets. Below are excerpts from the USDA website, regarding these healthy guidelines.
Focus on making healthy food and beverage choices from all five food groups including fruits, vegetables, grains, protein foods, and dairy to get the nutrients you need. Eat the right amount of calories for you based on your age, sex, height, weight, and physical activity level. Building a healthier eating style can help you avoid overweight and obesity and reduce your risk of diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
Use Nutrition Facts labels and ingredient lists to find amounts of saturated fat, sodium, and added sugars in the foods and beverages you choose. Look for food and drink choices that are lower in saturated fat, sodium, and added sugar. Eating fewer calories from foods high in saturated fat and added sugars can help you manage your calories and prevent overweight and obesity. Most of us eat too many foods that are high in saturated fat and added sugar. Eating foods with less sodium can reduce your risk of high blood pressure.
Think of each change as a personal “win” on your path to living healthier. Each MyWin is a change you make to build your healthy eating style. Find little victories that fit into your lifestyle and celebrate as a MyWin!
- Start with a few of these small changes.
- Make half your plate fruits and vegetables.
- Focus on whole fruits.
- Vary your veggies.
- Make half your grains whole grains.
- Move to low-fat and fat-free dairy.
- Vary your protein routine.
- Eat and drink the right amount for you.
Create settings where healthy choices are available and affordable to you and others in your community. Professionals, policymakers, partners, industry, families, and individuals can help others in their journey to make healthy eating a part of their lives.”
Food experts and dietitians suggest that people need to learn how to spread their intake of fruit and vegetables across an entire day of eating. Find creative ways to get your required daily intake. Eating fruits and vegetables is not as expensive as people might think. In the long run, eating well will improve your health and may save you from expensive medical bills down the road.