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Mapping Out American's Produce Consumption

Mapping Out American's Produce Consumption

A new CDC report reveals that where you live in the U.S. can determine whether or not you're getting your 'apple a day'

Did you know that where you live in the U.S. could determine whether or not you eat your daily-recommended allowance of fruits and vegetables?

The CDC recently released a map along with its State Indicator Report on Fruits and Vegetables that publicized which U.S. states were falling behind in the consumption of both. With this map, the CDC hopes to reveal nutrition trends around the country and explain why these trends occur in the first place.

The most evident trends are that people living along the east and west coasts generally eat the most produce, while the midwest and the south fall behind. The CDC explains that this trend may arise because of the higher prevalence of farmers’ markets and environmental supports on the coastlines in comparison to the higher grain and livestock production in the country’s middle region.

Further, food deserts — the low-income and low-access areas of the country in which people live at least ten miles from the nearest supermarket in rural areas — are more prevalent in the midwest than on the coastline. People living in these food deserts may find it hard to consume enough fruits and vegetables when they only have access to a small convenience store or supermarket with small or non-existent produce sections.

Reading the CDC report makes it hard to decipher whether the skewed distribution of produce consumption is a result of regional cultural differences, access and availability issues, taste preferences, or a combination of all of these factors.

Considering that fruits and vegetables are a key part of a balanced, nutritional diet, however, reveals a sense of urgency in curbing the prevalence of food deserts in the U.S.’s vast interior. In producing and distributing its map, the CDC has taken an important first step in spreading awareness in hopes that action will follow.

The 9 Best Food Tracker Apps of 2021

Food journaling has never been easier thanks to food-tracking apps for smartphones and tablets. Some of the best food-tracking apps use your phone's camera to scan food label barcodes to track calories, macronutrients, and protein amounts in the foods you eat.

What is Food Waste?

Before we go any further, here’s a quick primer on the basics of food waste:

Rubicon’s mission is to end waste, in all of its forms. In this article, we’re going to look at the issues surrounding food waste in the U.S. compared to the rest of the world. We’re going to look at what causes food waste at every level of the food supply chain and how to reduce it. And we’re going to uncover the most interesting food waste statistics out there.

Keep reading to learn more about food waste in America.

Here’s What Your Part Of America Eats On Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving &mdash when we give thanks and celebrate a tale about the welcoming of foreign refugees to American shores &mdash is once again upon us. For some, it&rsquos a day of mass media consumption, with a parade and three NFL games. For others, it&rsquos a day to identify the secret Canadians in our midst by finding out they don&rsquot have plans (Kim!). Sure, we&rsquove hit the point where the Santa Claus float at the end of the Macy&rsquos Thanksgiving Day Parade commemorates the start of the third week of Christmas music on the radio, but at least turkeys are cheap, right?

And that&rsquos what Thanksgiving is really about: food. So, in the spirit of the things that bring us all together, let&rsquos peel apart this holiday and carve this nation up into factions like a bargain-bin bird. Who eats what where? Our SurveyMonday Audience poll about Thanksgiving traditions had 1,058 respondents.

Chicken, pork and roast beef got cursory shout-outs as main Thanksgiving dishes, but turkey rules, with 82 percent of respondents saying the other, other white meat is the centerpiece of their meal. When you get past the poultry and check out the side dishes, though, the regional distinctions really come out.

Here&rsquos the most disproportionately consumed side dish in each region:

Going deeper, the Southeast is the definitive home of canned cranberry sauce respondents from the region are 50 percent more likely to pick that over the homemade variety. The Middle Atlantic states disproportionately have cauliflower as a side &mdash 17 percent in the region versus 9 percent nationwide &mdash while Texas and central Southern states see cornbread as far more necessary than the rest of the country, with 40 percent of respondents from those regions having it at dinner, compared with only 28 percent of the nation.

The Southeast prefers their carbs in the form of mac and cheese &mdash 35 percent of respondents in that region include the dish on their Thanksgiving menu versus 20 percent of the country overall. Meanwhile, New England is losing its mind over squash, with 56 percent demanding it on their table, compared with only 18 percent of the nation as a whole. This is, by far, the most confusing finding of this whole pursuit. Did Gronk endorse squash or something?

What about dessert? Every region enjoys pumpkin pie. But beyond that, there are three Americas: The America that disproportionately has apple pie (New England and the Middle Atlantic), the America that has pecan pie and sweet potato pie (the assorted South), and the America that consumes cherry pie (the Midwest and West).

Still, after dessert, the nation unites around that most American of traditions: buying shit. With little variation among regions, a solid 23 percent of respondents said they would shop Black Friday sales on Thanksgiving Day, a great way to leave the family behind a little early.

Another way to ditch the party early: leave after dinner to hang out with high school friends. Thirty-seven percent of respondents said they&rsquove done that. So it might be worth checking out Facebook ahead of time to see which of your old associates don&rsquot have kids yet. I know I&rsquoll be doing that, and I&rsquoll see you at that bar that didn&rsquot card when we were 19.

Other Foods Considered National Dishes

Apart from hamburger, brownies and apple pies are also sometimes considered the national dishes of the US. Americans consume $700 million worth of apple pie every year. Although apple pie originated in Europe, it is not uncommon to hear that “there is nothing more American than apple pie.” In fact, apple pie has become a symbol of the American culture and a national dessert.

Chocolate brownies are classic desserts in America. These brownies come in different flavors and adds-on including mint, peanut butter, raspberry, almonds, and white chocolate. They are sold in all corners in the country. Even toddlers as young as one year already know that brownies are one of the country’s favorite dish.

When fruits and vegetables look like they’re coming to the end of the road, find creative ways to use them. Turn spotted bananas into banana bread. Add shredded zucchini to fritters and sliced mushrooms to chili or toast. Toss limp, leafy greens into smoothies or scrambled eggs or add to any of these recipes. Slice apples and pears and cook them on the stove with a splash of water and maple syrup until tender. Mash into a tasty sauce.

The freezer is your friend when it comes to preserving produce. Pretty much any fruit or vegetable you see in the frozen food section of the supermarket can be frozen at home, too. If you have produce about to go south, here’s what to do:

  • Vegetables: To freeze vegetables, cook them first. Bring a generous pot of water to a boil and add your vegetable of choice, peeled if necessary, and cut into bite-size pieces. Boil or blanch until just barely tender, drain, and immediately immerse in a big bowl of ice water. Dry well and spread in a single layer on a baking sheet. Freeze and then transfer to a freezer bag.
  • Fruit: Fruit doesn’t need to be cooked before freezing. Just spread freshly washed berries and cut up mango, pineapple, peaches, and other tender fruits on a baking sheet. Freeze, then transfer to a freezer bag. To freeze bananas, peel and store them whole in a freezer bag.

Here Are Some Benefits Of Flaxseeds

These nutty delights come packed with a bevy of health benefits. "Flaxseeds are a great source of soluble mucilaginous (gumlike) fibre that can lower unhealthy cholesterol (LDL) and and balance blood sugar levels. It also acts like hunger suppressant and helps you feel full for long. Their high omega-3 fatty acids content can help lower undesirable fats (triglycerides) in the blood, reducing the risk of stroke and heart attack. flaxseeds are also good for eye health," as mentioned in Dorling Kindersley's book Healing Foods.

Flaxseeds are enriched with some of the most essential and basic nutrients that our body requires. These come enriched with fibre , protein, magnesium, calcium, phosphorous, lignan among other nutrients and minerals. Lignans present in them help in battling high levels of estrogen and help in maintaining balanced hormonal levels. Since flaxseeds are energy-dense with great satiety value, these make you feel full and therefore facilitate weight management. Flaxseeds are great for women's health, regular consumption may help reduce menopausal symptoms and can also help tackling irregular periods and menstruation-linked discomfort. Women should make the best out of these alsi seeds benefits.

Lignans present in flaxseeds help in battling high levels of estrogen and help in maintaining balanced hormonal levels.

How To Eat Flaxseeds?

There has been quite a lot of debate on how should one consume flaxseeds. It is true that flaxseeds, when not chewed properly, can go undigested, flushed out your system. Ground or milled flaxseeds, in that case, make a better choice. You can also opt for flaxseed oil to replace other oils in your cooking. We share with you, some of the easiest ways in which you can incorporate flaxseeds in your daily diet. "If you buy whole flaxseeds, grind as needed and add to yogurt, oatmeal, cereal, smoothies, casseroles, and baked goods. Sprouting flaxseeds releases more of their protein and omega-3 fats," as mentioned in Healing Foods.

Fry up some fritters

These vegetable pancakes are the perfect vehicle for “like, one carrot, a handful of scallions that somehow haven’t turned to ooze, a sweet potato of indeterminate age, a rapidly-softening bell pepper” and any other less than fresh veg you may have languishing in your produce drawer. Besides a collection of sad vegetables, all you need to make these crunchy fritters is water, salt, and oil. Serve it with a protein—like a piece of pork, some tofu, or a nice poached egg—and you’ve got a full meal.

How to Turn a Fridge Full of Sad Produce Into Dinner

We’ve all stared down a sad, empty fridge at too-late-for-a-grocery-run-o’clock on a weeknight,…

13 ways to add fruits and vegetables to your diet

Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables is a cornerstone of good health. It helps control blood pressure and cholesterol, keeps arteries flexible, protects bones, and is good for the eyes, brain, digestive system, and just about every other part of the body. But many of us have trouble putting that knowledge into practice and getting five or more (emphasis on the "more") servings a day.

One big barrier to tapping into the power of produce is the perception that fruits and vegetables are expensive. That's not necessarily so. You can buy three servings of fruits and four servings of vegetables for well under $2 a day, according to a survey by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. That's cheap insurance when you consider the high financial, physical, and emotional cost of a heart attack or stroke or a chronic disease like diabetes, osteoporosis, or vision loss.

Preparation time, unfamiliarity, and old habits are other barriers to eating more fruits and vegetables. Here are a baker's dozen of suggestions for tipping aside these barriers and enjoying delicious and nutritious foods.

Know your needs. For the mythical 2,000-calorie-a-day diet, the latest guidelines recommend a minimum of 2 cups of fruit and 2½ cups of vegetables a day. More is better. To calculate your fruit and vegetable needs, go to

Set a goal. If fruits and vegetables are minor items in your menu, start by eating one extra fruit or vegetable a day. When you're used to that, add another and keep going.

Be sneaky. Adding finely grated carrots or zucchini to pasta sauce, meat loaf, chili, or a stew is one way to get an extra serving of vegetables. Cookbooks like Deceptively Delicious or The Sneaky Chef offer ways to slip vegetables and fruits into all sorts of recipes.

Try something new. It's easy to get tired of apples, bananas, and grapes. Try a kiwi, mango, fresh pineapple, or some of the more exotic choices now found in many grocery stores.

Blend in. A fruit smoothie (recipe below) is a delicious way to start the day or tide you over until dinner.

Simple fruit smoothie

This is a great way to use bananas that are beginning to get too ripe. (You can always cut ripe bananas into thick slices, freeze in a plastic bag, and thaw when you're ready to make another smoothie.)

½ cup berries (fresh or frozen strawberries, blueberries, or other berry of your choice)

Optional: 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed (for healthy omega-3 fats)

Put all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend to combine. You can branch out by adding a dash of ground cinnamon, a splash of vanilla, some mint, or other flavoring.

Be a big dipper. If the natural flavor of carrots, celery, broccoli, or other veggies isn't enough, try dipping them into hummus or another bean spread, some spiced yogurt, or even a bit of ranch dressing. Or slather peanut butter on a banana or slices of apple.

Spread it on. Try mashed avocado as a dip with diced tomatoes and onions (you can even put in some puréed cooked spinach), or as a sandwich spread, topped with spinach leaves, tomatoes, and a slice of cheese.

Start off right. Ditch your morning donut for an omelet with onions, peppers, and mushrooms. Top it with some salsa to wake up your palate. Or boost your morning cereal or oatmeal with a handful of strawberries, blueberries, or dried fruit.

Drink up. Having a 6-ounce glass of low-sodium vegetable juice instead of a soda gives you a full serving of vegetables and spares you 10 teaspoons or more of sugar.

Give them the heat treatment. Roasting vegetables is easy and brings out new flavors. Cut up onions, carrots, zucchini, asparagus, turnips — whatever you have on hand — coat with olive oil, add a dash of balsamic vinegar, and roast at 350° until done. Grilling is another way to bring out the taste of vegetables. Use roasted or grilled veggies as a side dish, put them on sandwiches, or add them to salads.

Let someone else do the work. If peeling, cutting, and chopping aren't your thing, food companies and grocers offer an ever-expanding selection of prepared produce, from ready-made salads to frozen stir-fry mixes and take-along sliced apples and dip.

Improve on nature. Don't hesitate to jazz up vegetables with spices, chopped nuts, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, or a specialty oil like walnut or sesame oil. Most grocers carry several spice blends made specifically for vegetables. Even a dash of grated Parmesan cheese can liven up the blandest green beans.

Get help from Willy Wonka. Fruit dipped in chocolate: what could be a tastier two-fer? In addition to a delectable dessert, you get plenty of heart-healthy antioxidants, some fiber, and a host of vitamins, minerals, and other phytonutrients. Fresh strawberries, dried pears, or just about any fruit will stand up to chocolate.



Anderson, Jean. American Century Cookbook: The Most Popular Recipes of the 20th Century. New York: Clarkson Potter, 1997.

Britten, Loretta, and Sarah Brash, eds. Hard Times: The 30s. Alexandria, VA: Time-Life Books, 1998.

Hooker, Richard J. Food and Drink in America: A History. New York: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, Inc., 1981.

Le Sueur, Meridel. Women on the Breadlines. St. Paul, MN: West End Press, 1984.

McElvaine, Robert S., ed. Down & Out in the Great Depression: Letters from the "Forgotten Man." Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1983.

Schwartz-Nobel, Loretta. Starving in the Shadow of Plenty. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1981.

Smallzried, Kathleen Ann. The Everlasting Pleasure: Influences on America's Kitchens, Cooks and Cookery, from 1565 to the Year 2000. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts, Inc., 1956.

"The Story of Betty," [cited October 11, 2001] available from the World Wide Web at

"The Story of FritoLay," [cited October 11, 2001] available from the World Wide Web at

Tucker, David M. Kitchen Gardening in America: A History. Ames: Iowa State University, 1993.

Watkins, T. H. The Hungry Years: A Narrative History of the Great Depression in America. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1999.

Winslow, Susan. Brother, Can You Spare a Dime? America From the Wall Street Crash to Pearl Harbor, An Illustrated Documentary. New York: Paddington Press, Ltd., 1976.

Further Reading

Algren, Nelson. America Eats. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 1992.

DuSablon, Mary Anna. America's Collectible Cookbooks: The History, the Politics, the Recipes. Athens, OH: Ohio University Press, 1994.

Food and Drug Administration (FDA), [cited October 11, 2001] available from the World Wide Web at

The Food Stamp Program, [cited October 11, 2001] available from the World Wide Web at

Kraft Foods, [cited October 11, 2001] available from the World Wide Web at

Mariani, John F. The Dictionary of American Food and Drink. New Haven: Ticknor & Fields, 1983.

Mendelson, Anne. Stand Facing the Stove: The Story of the Women Who Gave America "The Joy of Cooking." New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1996.

Reynolds, Edward B., and Michael Kennedy. Whistleberries, Stirabout, & Depression Cake. Helena, MT: Falcon Publishing, 2000.

United States Department of Agriculture, [cited October 11, 2001] available from the World Wide Web at

Depression Recipes and Remembrances

Thacker, Emily. Recipes & Remembrances of the Great Depression. Canton, OH: Tresco Publishers, 1993.

Thibodeau, Karen, ed. Dining During the Depression. Glendale, WI: Reminisce Books, 1996.

Van Amber, Rita. Stories and Recipes of the Great Depression of the 1930s. Vol. I and II. Menomonie, WI: Van Amber Publishers, 1986–93.

Wagner, Patricia R. Depression Era Recipes. Cambridge, MN: Adventure Publications, Inc., 1989.