Nutrition professionals came together last month to discuss current topics and culinary trends impacting the nutrition world at the American Dietetic Association’s annual Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo. I was there with USA Pears, educating professionals about how pears fit into a variety of healthful diets; so, it was no surprise when the October issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association appeared on my doorstep with a cover picture of a pear and the headline, “Fruits and Vegetables: Promoting Greater Intake.”
From obesity, diabetes, and heart disease prevention to vegetarianism and sports nutrition, increasing global produce consumption is what is trending in nutrition right now. Study after study has shown the health benefits of eating more fruits and vegetables, and unfortunately, a recent study suggested that only 2.2% of men and 3.5% of women meet current recommendations for daily produce intake¹ in the United States. Dietitians know that produce promotion has to go beyond education; people must be exposed to what a normal and healthy diet looks like early and must be motivated to eat well to live well! I believe this promotion has to start early, both at home and in the classroom. It’s easy to pack a piece of fruit in a child’s (or adult’s!) lunch, have a bowl of fresh fruit on the table, or make vegetables the key ingredient in tonight’s dinner. Making fruit and vegetables the foundation of every meal and snack is the key to improving health!
¹Kimmons J, Gillespie C, Seymor J, Serdula M, Blanck HM. Fruit and vegetable intake among adolescents and adults in the United States: Percentage meeting individualized recommendations. Medscape J Med. 2009;11:26.