In college, your mother is not around to make sure you are eating right, or to prepare you a balanced meal to take to school for lunch. When you are on campus all day and running from one class to the next, it isn’t necessarily easy to eat healthy. But if your educational goals demand that you be at full mental and physical capacity, making sure you body gets the right amount of nutrients it needs to function properly should be a priority. Unfortunately, when it comes to getting those nutrients through fruits and vegetables, many students don’t.
You might not have thought about it, but eating enough fruits and vegetables each day is important to both your current and future health. According to FruitsandVeggiesMatter.gov, fruits and vegetables are critical to promoting good health and contain vitamins, minerals, and fiber that are essential and may protect you from chronic diseases. People who eat larger amounts of fruits and vegetables as a part of their diet are more likely to have a reduced risk of diseases, such as certain cancers and cardiovascular diseases, than those who only consume small amounts. For people who are looking to increase their daily intake, the National Fruit and Vegetable Program promotes the consumption of all fresh, frozen, dried, or canned fruits and vegetables, most of which are highly nutritious and naturally low in fat.
While the proper amount of fruits and vegetables can differ for each person, depending on their age sex and level of physical activity, there are some standard recommendations. According to the Food Guide Pyramid by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, every person needs three to five servings of vegetables and two to four servings of fruit per day. The U.S. Department of Agriculture defines a serving size for fruits or vegetables to equal about one-half of a cup. According to these standards, many college students are not eating enough fruits or vegetables each day that they need to get the right amount of nutrition. The American College Health Association reported in their Fall 2009 National College Health Assessment that only 5.9 percent of students said they had five or more servings each day. Three to four servings were eaten by 28.4 percent of students each day, one to two servings by 59.4 percent, and 6.3 percent reported that they did not even have one serving of fruits or vegetables per day.