Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Fruits and Veggies

I read a short article last Friday that stated that Americans are consuming less fruits and veggies.  Less.  Despite all the campaigns, all the awareness, all the common sense, we're consuming less.  This is one fairly easy and inexpensive way to ensure your health, it definitely costs less than high blood pressure medicine or a heart bypass.  It benefits all areas of your life.  Particularly Cancer prevention.  If you knew that simply eating more fruit and vegetables would prevent your untimely and painful death why not do it?  What's the hold up?  I do not get it.

According to the research roughly 1/3 of Americans consumed fruit or fruit juice at least twice a day.  1/3, 33%, of all of us?  We're a big Country-no pun intended-and only 33% are eating fruit at least twice a day?  I love fruit, I have a huge sweet tooth, and fruit is my go to for satisfying that.  There is always fruit in my boys' lunch boxes, sometimes two different kinds.  And fruit is a star in my green smoothie.

Again, according to this research done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 26% of Americans ate vegetables three or more times a day.  Almost 1/4 of our population is eating their vegetables.  How exactly do we expect our children to eat them if we're not?  We're big salad eaters here, well I am, and since I cook the boys have to go along for the ride!  Adding a nightly salad to the dinner table will increase your family's consumption and with relatively little effort on your part.

The other thing that jumped out, and alarmed, me was that according to last year's study the most popular form of fruit was orange juice and the most popular form of vegetable was potato.  Now I love a good french fry as much as the next guy but potatoes do not supply your body with all it's needs!  As for juice, honestly I hardly ever drink it.  I had a glass of OJ last weekend for the first time since....well I don't know when...it was ok, not very satisfying though, I prefer the orange. 

In the interest of increasing all our consumption I'll share one of the lunches from last week, conveniently packed in a lunch boxes to go container

PB&J on Dave's Killer Bread.  Diced watermelon.  Fresh red bell pepper, carrot sticks and sugar peas.  I'm not mean, there's dessert, homemade mini muffins, two oatmeal raisin and one cocoa muffin

And another salad.

Baby spinach
Green lettuce
Roma tomato
English cucumber
1/2 of an avocado

Dressed in a tangy chile lime dressing that I borrowed from the recipe for Jalepeno Lime Kale Slaw. 

We can do better than 33% eating enough fruit and 26% eating enough vegetables.  We can do better than the most popular form of fruit being served with a straw and the most popular veggie dipped in ketchup.  It is not a mystery why we must do better.  You need only look around at the mall to see what's happening to our Country.  We must do better, not only for ourselves but for our children.  Increasing your consumption of fruit and vegetables will make a difference in your health.  You can make it easy.  You can make it fun.  You can make it tasty.  Just make it, and eat it!


  1. I agree!!! It is so easy to eat these foods and for your kids to eat these foods. I have the policy of "eat what I give you or you don't eat". Dylan's lunch box every day has a veggie and a fruit. He loves to snack on red peppers, carrots, etc. Caroline is more of a smoothie girl and that is fine. I literally want to smack parents who say their kids won't eat healthy foods. That is b/c they are letting the kids run the show. It is our job as adults and parents to provide healthy foods every single day.

  2. I totally agree here!! I do wish fruits and veggies were more affordable for ALL consumers. Also, it irks me to no end that LaCroix fizzy water (no caffeine, no sodium, no calories)costs more than a 12 pack of soda. While eating healthy pays off in the long run, I think that immediate penny-pinching families can justify a fatty hamburger helper/1lb of ground meat vs. fruits and veggies. Many do not see the future costs as a factor in their grocery budgets.

  3. I know what you mean about the cost, but if you plan ahead, shop the sales, look for in season deals, etc., etc, it can be done. I'm not sure how much of my budget I spend on produce, you know that would be an interesting thing to track for a month, I might just do that! To me though, I look at it as a long term investment in my health. I know I save money over the course of the year on co pays for doctor visits and cold medicine! That money goes towards my groceries. I am picky about some foods being organic only but others, I buy at mainstream stores. Pick and choose my battles, you know?
    It's important though. And I truly believe if you make it a priority then you can find other places in your budget to trim so you can pad your food budget.

    And Jen, I am with you! I'm not a short order cook! You will eat the dinner I make, at least two bites of everything, be grateful I don't cook gross food ;-)

  4. That looks really great! I am worried about lunches for school with the no-nut restriction. Tim eats his weight in Peanut butter sandwiches during the year. I'm going to have to buy cheese and make it cheese sandwiches but what are you going to do with no meat, no dairy (isn't he no dairy?) and no nut? Just curious how the GG is going to solve this issue :)

  5. Fortunately Paulo likes sunbutter sandwiches. So he'll have those and I will make corn and black bean stuffed muffins, he will have pasta salads (cold and warm in the thermos), I will see how he responds to tuna sandwiches, I suspect with enough pickles he'll like those too, he does like tuna mixed in with cold pasta salad and dressed with lemon dill sauce so I hope he enjoys it stuffed into bread too and I'm planning on refried bean tostadas with diced tomato and avocado, stuffed "pizza" muffins with marinara sauce and lots and lots of fruit. He's still dairy free, we won't challenge that until mid October. This Friday we start the challenge with eggs, so if all goes well, hard boiled eggs will go in the lunch next week!

  6. I really enjoyed this one. We're also in the habit that nearly all lunches include fruit & veggies (I want to say 100%, but sometimes, Mama needs to go to the store).

    It's also why I bake so much for the kids, it's so easy to add in extra veggie servings and I never want them to think that they can't have treats. They are welcome to cookies, granola bars, muffins/cupcakes, fruit roll-ups, anything that I can make. It's not always health food, but at least it's real foods.

  7. I'm with you Shannon, I'm happy to include muffins and treats that I bake for my boys-I know exactly what is in them and I can tweak them here and there to try to improve the health factor. My next investment will be a dehydrator, I want to try to make the fruit roll ups I've seen in your bentos!


Input? Feedback? I'd love to hear from you!