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What are the negative results of eating only 2-3 veggies (and fruits) a day?


Q. My 17 year-old son does’nt eat enogh fruits and veggies………….What are the negative results of 2-3 veggie(and fruits) a day diet….I eat like 10/day but am overweight so he ignores me….My wife is a great mom, but he only will eat what he likes which is’nt much…..THANKS!!


A. First of all give him kudos for eating 2-3 servings a day! Teenagers eat a lot of calories because they grow very rapidly during this phase of life. They don’t always have the best dietary habits at this age and the fact that he eats some fruits and vegetables is a great start to inspire him to eat more.


We encourage a diet rich in fruits and vegetables for several different reasons. Fruits and veggies are packed full of important vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals that aid everyday body mechanics as well as protect against cellular damage. Fruits and vegetables also provide water and fiber both vital for digestive health. Of course, at age 17, these things probably don’t interest him. Simply offering good-tasting meals that include plenty of fruits and veggies is one of the best things you can do.


Offer snacks that incorporate multiple food groups to increase the nutritional value (i.e. cereal with banana and milk, apples and peanut butter, dried fruit mixed with nuts, veggie English muffin pizzas, etc.). Lastly, use fruits and vegetables in recipes. Every form (100% juice, dried, frozen, canned and fresh) of produce counts. Use mashed bananas in pancake batter or cookies, try juice in smoothies, or put sweet potatoes into chili. The possibilities are endless. Be creative. Check out our Recipes!

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The Expert: Wendy Reinhardt Kapsak, MS, RDN, is the President and CEO of the Produce for Better Health (PBH) Foundation. At PBH, she guides the Foundation’s efforts to advance the overall effort of increasing fruit and vegetable consumption.
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