Fresh produce is healthy bargainIf you are bypassing the produce section to conserve cash, you are not alone.
If you are bypassing the produce section to conserve cash, you are not alone. A recent survey of 1,000 grocery shoppers found that nearly 40 percent of shoppers avoid buying fresh fruits and vegetables because of cost. Instead, they load up their carts with cookies and crackers. That is not only a hit to nutrition, but also to their pocketbook. Packaged snacks actually cost more than produce.
It does pay to shop smart. When possible, choose fruits and vegetables that are in season and locally grown. They tend to be cheaper than items shipped from faraway. And while super market circulars can tip you off to sales, take a moment to compare unit prices. A medium size apple is actually two servings. So if a medium size apple cost 45 cents, then the two servings of apple would be 22.5 cents each.
Fruit and vegetables are promoted as food that keeps us healthy. But Americans do not come close to eating the fruit and vegetables needed. In fact a 2012 USDA study asking Americans how many servings (cups) fruits and vegetables they eat each day had disappointing results. Children and younger adults did the best by eating just a cup of vegetables and half a cup of fruit daily. Older adults ate even less.
Women over age 51 need 1½ cups of fruit and 2 cups of vegetables, while men the same age need 2 cups fruit and 3 cups vegetables every day.
Think about the food you ate yesterday. How many cups of fruit or vegetables did you eat? It’s hard to
remember what vegetables we ate yesterday, never mind how many cups. USDA now has a new and better way to remember how much fruit and vegetables you need; fill half of your plate with fruits and vegetables. No measuring, just try to fill half the plate with fruits and vegetables when you eat and you will be on your way to better health and feeling good.