Americans receive failing grade when it comes to fruit intake

A new report card issued by the National Fruit & Vegetable Alliance (NFVA), shows Americans consume far less than the recommended intake for fruit.

A new report card issued by the National Fruit & Vegetable Alliance (NFVA), shows Americans consume far less than the recommended intake for fruit, with only8 percent of the total population and 12 percent of children achieving the target number of fruit servings in an average day. With so few Americans consuming the recommended amounts of fruit, finding quick and simple ways to help add fruit servings to a daily diet is more important than ever.

While the "fresh is best" mantra used to be a frequent refrain, nutrition experts now recognize that many forms of fruit can count as part of the fruit group, including canned, frozen and dried fruit and 100 percent juice. These options add convenience and provide valuable nutrients.

Nationally recognized author and nutrition expert, Elisa Zied, M.S., R.D., C.D.N., says that breakfast is a great place to start building healthy habits that can last throughout the day, including sneaking in a serving or two of fruit.

"A family that is rushing in the morning and doesn't want to take more than a couple of minutes to prepare a healthy breakfast can certainly take a few shortcuts," says Zied. "A baggie of fresh berries or even a box of 100 percent juice is two great on-the-go solutions. One box, or 8 ounces of 100 percent fruit juice, gives you two servings of fruit for the day with no added sugar. And either choice provides essential vitamins and minerals that your body needs to stay healthy."

Although the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that a majority of daily fruit servings come from whole fruit, for many families, a glass of 100 percent juice can get them closer to meeting their daily goal. In fact, based on a new national survey, three out of four U.S. households are turning to 100 percent juice to help boost their fruit intake. According to the survey, over one-third of American adults consume 100 percent fruit juice at least once per day. Among children, 42 percent enjoy at least one daily serving of juice. In addition, nine out of ten juice consumers agreed that 100 percent juice is an important part of a healthy diet. www.fruitjuicefacts.org.

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