Last week, The New York Times reported that American vegetable consumption isn’t getting any better. In fact, in some ways it’s getting worse.
According to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only 26 percent of people in this country eat three servings of veggies a day. Seventeen percent of dinners prepared at home include salad (in 1994 it was 22 percent), and 23 percent of meals contain a vegetable.
Even with strong recommendations — national health guidelines say we should eat 4.5 cups of fruits and veggies (that’s nine servings) a day — Americans still aren’t reaching for the greens.
Apparently we’re not going to eat our vegetables just because we’re told to. What are we doing wrong?
It’s not that we don’t understand the importance of fruits and vegetables. The Times points out that what stands in our way is convenience and money. Lots of people don’t know how to prepare swiss chard and zucchini quickly — and after ambitious trips to the grocery store or farmers market, produce just meets a sad, limp death sitting in the refrigerator. And in terms of calories, fruits and vegetables are not the most economical way to feed a family.
Berkley Unified School District’s “edible schoolyard” program gives some clues about what works — kids who help garden and cook are 150 percent more likely to eat more fruits and vegetables than kids not in the program. More exposure to greens, but also helping prepare them (and knowing how to make them taste good) gets children over the hump.
Has anything worked for your family to up your intake of veggies and fruit?
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