Americans Need to Eat More Diverse Vegetables (If They Can Actually Find Them)

Americans need to stop eating so many potatoes and add some diverse vegetables.

Okay, so we’re not exactly blaming you for this recent U.S. Department of Agriculture data. We know you love kale, squash, and everything in-between. And we’re betting that you also have access to lots of different kinds of vegetables. That’s probably because you grow your own or live close to a farmers market. But, unfortunately, not all Americans have access to fresh, diverse vegetables.

While that may be hard to believe, the USDA recently revealed some disturbing information that shows that the amount of vegetables available per person in the United States is quite low.

Treehugger reports that the USDA revealed that there’s only a measly “1.7 cups of vegetables available per person in the U.S.” This figure was based on 2013 data and gathered from domestic production and import numbers.

Another not-so-heartwarming fact that the USDA recently brought to light is that most Americans are simply saying “nah” to diverse vegetables. The data reveals that most Americans are on a diet that overwhelmingly includes white potatoes, tomatoes, and lettuces (this comes to about 59 percent of the legume and veggies “available for consumptions in 2013,” the USDA reports), and sadly, omits most everything else. Not only is this lineup of vegetables rather boring, but the lack of diversity also means people are missing nutrients that are typically found in beans, squash, peppers, and other leafy greens.

“Restricting one’s diet to a limited set of vegetables precludes the desired variety that would supply more diverse, healthful nutrients,” the USDA reports.

To get a better idea of the types of vegetables the American public is consuming, the USDA made the following chart:

Americans need more diverse vegetables.

While it’s still a bummer that most Americans aren’t getting a lot of diversity in their diet, we’re actually eating a more diverse diet than we were in 1970. So… Yay to that?

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Image of potatoes via Shutterstock