90 percent of us fail miserably at eating enough fruits and veggies

Photo: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images
Photo: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention just trolling us with the timing on this new report? On a day when most of us are elbow-deep slathering turkeys with butter, the CDC dropped a big ol’ finger wag of a study that finds only 10 percent of American adults eat enough fruits and veggies. Wait, do the celery chunks in this stuffing count?

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The results are drawn from the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report—sounds fun—which gathered the fruit-and-veggie data from a 2015 study across all 50 states. Adults should eat 1.5-2 cups of fruit and 2-3 cups of vegetables per day, but just 9 percent of adults meet that veggie goal and 12 percent meet the fruit goal. Alaska residents do best on the vegetable front, with 12 percent consuming the daily recommended levels, and Washington, D.C. residents do best in terms of fruit, with 16 percent meeting the goal. West Virginians fare worst on both accounts, ranking last in percentage of adults who get their recommended intake.

The CDC identified a few barriers that keep these numbers low, including fresh food’s high cost, limited availability and access to produce, and consumers’ perceived lack of cooking/prep time. If you’re one of the millions of Americans who suffer from vegetable bewilderment, allow The Takeout to suggest these nine vegetarian Thanksgiving sides that even the fiercest carnivores will enjoy. It’s what we do here: save the world one Brussels sprout at a time.

Kate Bernot is a freelance writer and a certified beer judge. She was previously managing editor at The Takeout.

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DISCUSSION

ferdinandcesarano
Ferdinand Cesarano

They key to enjoying vegetables is to eat them raw.

My diet consists mainly of raw vegetables. When I tell people that I am going to eat my dinner of vegetables, they frequently ask “how do you prepare them?” The simple answer is “I don’t”. I just wash them and eat them. There’s nothing you can do to a vegetable that will improve it; it comes out of the ground perfect. (The only vegetable that I wouldn’t eat raw is a potato, because raw potatoes can be poisonous.)

I grew up thinking that I didn’t like vegetables because my only exposure to them was in cases where they were “prepared”. My mother was a great cook; but she murdered vegetables; as a result, I was repulsed by soupy spinach, limp broccoli, and mushy stringbeans and peas. Whereas nowadays broccoli and spinach are amongst my favourite foods; I still can scaresly believe that I actually have a love of these foods; to that group of beloved foodstuffs I will add celery and romaine lettuce.

And they require absolutely no work; just wash them and put them in a nice whole wheat wrap. If you have a wrap consisting of broccoli alone, or one consisting of romaine lettuce, carrots, and onion, or one consisting of spinach and peppers, then what you have there is a meal.