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Break the Status Quo: Eat More Fruits and Vegetables
A new study about Americans’ eating habits has come out, and while there are some bright spots, the news for consumption of fruits and vegetables isn’t completely dazzling. Despite the fact that fruits and vegetables are one of the most health-giving kinds of food available, Americans still aren’t eating enough of them.
Published in the Journal of the American Medical Association earlier this summer, the study analyzed data from almost 34,000 people aged twenty or older who were surveyed for the National Health and Nutrition Examination Study from 1999 to 2012. Participants filled out a 24-hour food diary to give researchers a snapshot of what’s on Americans’ plates every day.
First, the good news: Over the course of the 13-year study period, these people upped the amount of whole grains, nuts, seeds, fish and shellfish they ate, while cutting back on the refined grains, white potatoes, and sugary drinks. Plus, they ate more of their fruit servings in the form of whole fruit and less as fruit juice. That’s an improvement, because whole fruit contains fiber, so it doesn’t raise blood sugar as quickly as fruit juice.
The bad news is that despite all the calls to eat more fruits and vegetables, total consumption of these healthy foods did not increase over the study period. Plus, the percentage of participants whose diet were rated “poor” was shockingly high at 46 percent, though it did fall from 56 percent at the beginning of the study. If you’ve been meaning to eat more fruits and vegetables, but are having trouble making the change, think about what’s stopping you.
If time is an obstacle, buy vegetables that are easy to prepare, like pre-washed salad greens, pre-cut veggies, sugar snap peas, baby carrots, or cherry tomatoes. Even if they cost a little more, vegetables that are eaten are better for you than vegetables that rot in the fridge.
If fruits and vegetables are too expensive, learn what’s in season where you live, and buy those. Not only are in-season vegetables cheaper, they taste better too. Nothing beats an in-season local tomato or peach. And when food tastes better, you’ll eat more of it.
If your vegetables go bad before you can eat them or you’re always running out, stock up on frozen fruits and vegetables so there’s always something usable on hand. You could also freeze the extra produce yourself. For example, if you only use half the bag of spinach that you bought, and you know you won’t use the rest soon, toss it in the freezer.
If you’re tired of your old standbys, try something new! Your local farmers market may have a fruit or vegetable you’ve never seen before. Give it a try, and you may find a new favorite.
Sometimes, though, despite our best intentions, we fall short. On those days, you can still get the nutrition of 30 different fruits, vegetables, and grains in a convenient form with Juice Plus+. While nothing takes the place of a healthy diet, Juice Plus+ helps bridge the gap between what you should eat and what you do eat.
Do you have any creative ways to get more fruits and vegetables into your family’s diet? Share with us in the comments!
 Oaklander M. The American diet’s getting healthier? Not so fast. Time. 2016 Jun 21. http://time.com/4375543/american-diet-healthy-foods/
 Rehm C et al. Dietary intake among US adults, 1999-2012. JAMA. 2016 Jun 21. 315(23). http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=2529628
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