The staple of fries and ketchup may be hurting our vegetable consumption.
The government agency's charts highlight a distinct lack of diversity in the average citizen's diet. Per person, Americans are consuming over 45 pounds of potatoes (less than half of which are fresh) each year, with tomatoes coming in second with over 30 pounds consumed (mostly from canned varieties). Nutrient dense and colorful veggies, like carrots and lettuce, come in fourth and sixth with a measly amount of less than 10 pounds being consumed yearly.
Americans aren't doing any better in the category of fruit either. Oranges were number one, with 35 pounds consumed yearly, followed closely by apples at around 27 pounds. The majority of both sources came from juice, with a decent portion also being from canned products.
While the top seven fruits and vegetables listed show overall a good variety in color and type, the average citizen just isn't eating enough of each to truly reap the benefits. Fresh varieties should be prioritized, with frozen being an easy back up, but instead Americans are turning to products like canned vegetables and fruit juices to subsidize their diet.
One good way to get a variety of fruits and veggies to focus on eating a colorful diet. Don't just rely solely on starchy veggies, or tomato based products like marinara, and instead try to make a rainbow of vegetables in your daily meals. Add a handful of greens to your eggs, grate up zucchini for your baked goods, and serve a side salad at dinner for a well-balanced plate. For fruit, avoid juices overall due to their high sugar content and the low amount of fiber. Instead, opt for whole fruits to get the optimal amount of nutrients and fiber.
If you need more inspiration on how to eat a better variety of produce, check out our list of 95 Ways to Eat More Veggies.