March is National Nutrition Month and this year’s theme is “Put Your Best Fork Forward!” Part of leading a healthy life means eating a healthy diet and being physically active. Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables can help reduce the risk of many leading causes of illness and death, add important nutrients to your diet, and help with weight control. Use this month to take small steps towards meeting recommended daily amounts of fruits and veggies.
A recent CDC study highlights when, where, and how U.S. adults and children are eating a healthy diet. The research shows that adults get most of their fruit during breakfast and snacking whether they eat recommended amounts or not. Those who are not getting enough could aim to add more at breakfast or through snacks such as eating a small apple or banana. On the other hand, children tend to eat fruit throughout the day. Children who need more could add extra fruit to their breakfast, lunch, or snack routines. Dinnertime tends to be when adults and children eat most of their vegetables. However, for those who are not eating enough vegetables, try adding vegetables to your lunchtime salad or sandwich (e.g., tomato slices or baby carrots) or mixing them into what you are having for dinner (e.g., adding broccoli into your pasta).
Source: Moore LV, Hamner HC, Kim SA, Dalenius K. Common ways Americans are incorporating fruits and vegetables into their diet: intake patterns by meal, source and form, National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2007-2010. Public Health Nutr, 2016 Oct;19(14):2535-9.