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The simple health choice that most Americans are ignoring
Eight-seven percent of Americans arent following this nutrition recommendation, and it could be impacting their health. Are you one of them? - photo by Allana Kerr
A staggering 87 percent of Americans are avoiding one food thats known to control appetite, stabilize blood sugars, prevent obesity, keep bowels regular, reduce blood pressure, lower the risk of heart disease, inhibit cataract formation and protect against some forms of cancer. Could it be acai berries? Green coffee bean extract? Kefir?

The answer is simple: Vegetables. Thats right, 87 percent of Americans are missing out on the recommended intake of 2 cups of veggies each day. The same veggies have been sitting under our noses for eternity but are frequently overlooked. Meanwhile, the limelight is put on superfoods or fad diets that generally lack scientific data to back up their health claims.

Healthy eating is individualistic, and its rare to find one nutrition recommendation that will apply to the entire population. But for 87 percent of you, the solution can be straightforward: eat more vegetables. Whether its due to dislike, poor availability or lack of time, here are five tips to incorporate veggies into your daily routine and start reaping major health benefits.

  1. Change your mindset: The first step to becoming a vegetable eater is simple: stop saying that you hate vegetables. Drop the hater label and instead accept that you havent found a vegetable that you like yet. You may be thinking, Ive already tried all vegetables and yes, I definitely hate them. The key is to try different ways of preparing vegetables. Do you hate broccoli? Perhaps the aversion came from being forced to eat over-boiled, mushy broccoli in your childhood. Give broccoli a second chance, and prepare it differently such as roasting it with some oil, garlic and herbs. Whatever your hated vegetable is, challenge yourself to try it in a new way and you may end up surprising yourself.

  2. Have a Veggie Hour: Even if youre a vegetable lover, the thought of eating vegetables can be daunting due to the necessary prep work. Oftentimes, its easier to grab a pre-packaged snack such as a bag of chips instead of washing, drying, peeling and cutting an assortment of vegetables. Make the healthy choice the easy choice by taking an hour out of your week to cut up vegetables ahead of time. Keep cut-up vegetables such as bell peppers, cucumbers and carrots in a clear container that youll see when you open the fridge seeking a snack. Find more prep ideas at Cook Smarts ( to make your life easier all week long.

  3. Embrace food porn: Believe it or not, vegetables can be drool-worthy. Check out Healthy Aperture (, which is basically Instagram for healthy food ideas. The site is curated by registered dietitians and is the perfect spot to explore new ways to prepare vegetables.

  4. Ignore superfoods: A single food isnt going provide all the nutrients you need to be healthy. In other words, you dont have to eat kale if you dont want to. Every vegetable has its claim to fame, whether its kale for vitamin K or carrots for vitamin A. Instead of focusing on a certain food, focus on getting a variety. Adding any vegetable where it didnt exist before is a step in the right direction.

  5. Choose quality: Focus on in-season vegetables to get the most affordable, flavorful and nutritious products. Discover whats in season at Sustainable Table ( and check out a local farmers market to buy them. Cant make it to a market? Sign up for a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) subscription to try freshly picked produce that is boxed by local farmers and available for pickup or delivery.

Check out more tips on how to get your veggies on USDAs Choose My Plate website (
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