How to Meet the Frankly Very Aspirational Recommended Servings of Fruits and Veggies

It can be as easy as eating a whole head of raw lettuce a day

A wide variety of colorful fresh fruit and vegetables

Most adults in the U.S. are not consuming enough fruits and vegetables, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention wrote in a recent report. With this study, the CDC once again confirms what all of us in the U.S. — as well as everyone who has ever had the slightest inkling of an opinion on Americans — has known all along, in our heart of hearts, probably since the moment we were first capable of independent thought.

Per the CDC, only 12 percent of U.S. adults consume the recommended 1.5 to 2 cups of fruit every day, and just 10 percent reach the recommended daily intake of 2 to 3 cups of vegetables. When I think about how small a cup is, those recommended servings sound easily attainable, but when forced to review everything I’ve eaten so far today — an egg-and-cheese sandwich on a roll, a bowl of oatmeal, a few potato chips, like 30 ounces of water — I must concede that there’s no fucking way I eat enough fresh produce to satisfy the draconian demands of our snitch-ass public health bodies.

There are many reasons why the majority of people in this country may not ingest the minimum recommended amount of fruits and vegetables each day — food deserts, lack of time or money to cook, the calculated convenience of processed foods, inflation, capitalism, so on and so forth — but let me put all that aside for a moment to address just the people who are not eating enough produce for the same reason as me (a profound lack of desire to do anything at all times, mixed with a dash of laziness): I know it’s hard, but we can probably do better.

Here are some friendly suggestions for how to attain the recommended daily servings of fruits and veggies (remember, 1.5–2 cups and 2–3 cups, respectively):

  • Raw dog it: two apples, three carrots, just fucking go at them like a horse every day.
  • Replace one meal with an entire head of lettuce.
  • Drink 16 ounces of freshly squeezed orange juice.
  • I hear there’s a powdered green juice that claims to contain 11 servings of vegetables. Is this true? I don’t know. Is it disgusting? Yes, probably. Could it be worth a try? Yeah why not.
  • Grab your veg — any veg — toss it with some olive oil, salt, and spices, lay it out on a baking sheet, roast at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. That’s the only cooking you will ever need to know.
  • Eat a loaf of banana bread each day (each recipe typically calls for about four very ripe bananas, so this would definitely cover all the necessary fruit servings).
  • Don’t like the taste of vegetables? Put hot sauce on them. Don’t like the taste of fruit? Put Tajín on there. Don’t like spice? Grow up.
  • Start a TikTok account exclusively dedicated to videos of you making and consuming green smoothies, thus forcing you to keep getting in your healthy produce in order to maintain your social media following and brand partnerships.
  • Dip an onion in caramel to look like a caramel apple as a prank and then just eat that when the prank is over. Repeat two to three times a day.
  • Sweetgreen bowls may be pricey but they have basically everything you need, nutritionally. Budget about $50 per day for this.
  • Form a blood pact with your partner/roommate/sibling to pin each other down and force feed each other fresh fruit and vegetables at a quarter to midnight each night. Accountability is one of the most important steps to making this change happen.