What Are Our Current Fruit and Vegetable Eating Trends?

Earlier this month, SFC’s The Happy Kitchen staff had a chance to participate in the webinar, 2015 State of the Plate: An Overview of Fruit & Vegetable Consumption Trends. Given that The Happy Kitchen/La Cocina Alegre® Program is dedicated to helping individuals and families prepare and eat more fruits and vegetables, the team was especially interested in this topic. Here are a few of the highlights—

  • Our meals are made up of fewer dishes than they used to be (3.5 dishes/meal in 1986 86 vs. 2.8 dishes/meal now).
  • We’re relying more on one-dish meals, which can be good if they include vegetables, but we have to be careful because we’re eating fewer veggies as sides dishes and less fruit as dessert.
  • Fruit consumption is highest for kids under 3 and adults over 65, in part because of parents’ role for kids and health concerns for older adults, but also because they’re more likely to be at home, and people eat better at home.
  • More women are working outside the home, but they still do about 75% of all planning, shopping, prepping, and cleaning, so time is an issue now more than ever.
  • Fruit and vegetable consumption is down slightly (possibly related to aforementioned changes in meal structure), but consumption of *fresh* fruits and vegetables is up; some part of decline in fruit consumption is a decline in juice consumption (probably due to popularity of other beverage options).

So what does this mean for The Happy Kitchen/La Cocina Alegre®? Here are a few thoughts:

  • Teach more “one pot meals” in our classes, making sure that they include vegetables.
  • Emphasize that eating at home is overall healthier than eating out.
  • Include fruits or vegetables as snacks throughout the day.

What about you? Do you have any thoughts about what the Program should teach based on these insights? Have you noticed any trends in your own household?