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Nutrition: Most People Need More Fruits, Vegetables

fruits, vegetables, nutritional counseling, Registered Dietitian, Bon Secours In MotionMaybe you had a banana with your cereal. Perhaps a salad last night. You might think you’re eating enough fruits and vegetables, but chances are you’re not. Just 1 in 10 adults meets the federal recommendations for fruit or vegetable intake, according to a new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“We’re missing out on the essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber that fruits and vegetables provide,” said Seung Hee Lee Kwan, Ph.D., lead author of the study.

That also means that a majority of Americans are putting themselves at risk for chronic diseases and heart disease. Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables daily can help reduce the risk of many leading causes of illness and death, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, and obesity. Seven of the top 10 leading causes of death in the United States are from chronic diseases, according to the CDC.

In general, adults are supposed to eat least 1½ to 2 cups per day of fruit and 2 to 3 cups per day of vegetables as part of a healthy eating pattern. Yet, in 2015, just 9 percent of adults ate that many vegetables. Only 12 percent of adults met the recommendations for fruit. Those most likely to eat the least fruits and vegetables were among men, young adults, and adults living in poverty.

If you’re trying to add more fruits and vegetables to your diet, look for ones that are in season to save money. Canned vegetables or frozen fruits are great options, too, as long as they don’t contain too much sugar from other ingredients.

You can also add fruits and vegetables to your diet by making sure to keep them handy when you’re on the go. An apple, dried fruit or cut up celery sticks make an easy portable snack.

Do you need help fitting more nutrition into your meals? Work with a Registered Dietitian at Bon Secours In Motion. Our dietitians have additional certifications in diabetes education, weight management and sports and fitness nutrition.