How are Americans doing in reaching the goal of eating 5 Fruits and Vegetables a Day? The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recently reported (see: http://www.fruitsandveggiesmatter.gov/health_professionals/statereport.html) about our fruit and vegetable consumption by state. For adults, CDC found only 27% were eating at least 2 vegetables a day and only 33% were eating two servings of fruit. If you are eating French fries or potato chips as your “vegetable”, you are out of luck. CDC asked those surveyed, “During the past 7 days, how many times did you eat potatoes? (Do not count French fries, fried potatoes, or potato chips.)” Not surprisingly, teenage diets were even worse than adults and as a group they were far from the 5 A Day goal. Less than 10% of high school students are meeting the 5 A Day goal.
If you are eating at least 2 servings of fruit a day, you are doing better than most Americans. Clearly, these numbers indicate many Americans need to make some dietary changes to eat healthier. If you aren’t eating 5 A Day, then work towards this goal by eating at least 2 servings of fruit a day. Drink some 100% juice at least once a day. Note the juice must be 100%, real juice. CDC asked, “1) “During the past 7 days, how many times did you drink 100% fruit juices such as orange juice, apple juice, or grape juice? (Do not count punch, Kool-Aid, sports drinks, or other fruit-flavored drinks.)” . Thus, if you are drinking 100% orange juice or 100% apple or grape juice, then you have a fruit serving. If you are drinking Kool-Aid, Hi-C, Sunny D (Sunny Delight), or other such drinks, you aren’t getting a serving of fruit. Fruit drinks and fruit punches are mostly water and sugar. Yes, the manufacturer may add vitamin C but these drinks lack many of the nutrients found in 100% juice. In my nutrition classes, it is surprising to find how many students are fooled by manufacturers when it comes to juice. Many of my students think SunnyD is real, 100% juice. Many think, Hi-C is 100% juice. Read the label and look for 100% juice, not 10% juice, not 25% juice, not a juice drink, not fruit punch, but real, 100% juice.
Bottom line: Say NO to fruit punch, fruit drinks. Instead choose 100% juice.
Choose fruit every day. For lunch or for a snack during the day, make it a habit to bring fruit. Bring an apple, an orange, some grapes, a banana, a box of raisins, or some other dried fruit. Don’t count on “buying” it, because you may not find fresh fruit readily available and it will be too easy to replace your healthy fruit with some other unhealthy snack alternative. So go for it, at least 2 servings of fruit a day. How hard can it be to make this one small change in your diet?