I had an unusual thought the other day as I was staring at our diminishing fruit bowl...I wonder how much fruit our family of six should actually be consuming on a weekly basis. I wonder how much fruit I should actually be purchasing each week to have on hand for our family of six. Hmmmm.
So a quick check with an on-line food pyramid shows a recommended 2 to 4 servings of fruit per day. Based on one active teen boy (4 servings), an exercising husband (3 servings), two adult women who are fairly active (2 and 3 servings), a teen girl who seems to live on air (so let's call her 2 servings) plus an 8-year-old (another 2 servings), we should be eating 16 servings of fruit per day. That would be 112 servings per week! With that in mind, I am pretty sure we are not eating enough fruit. Reports from cardiologists and oncologists even recommend 5 servings of fruit per day. And they should know!
With this startling information, I'm going to take a stab at guessing how much fruit we have been consuming based on my casual, oh-that-looks-like-enough approach at the grocery store.
A couple bunches of bananas, sometimes actually only one - 12 servings
A bag of apples - 8 servings
A bag of oranges - 6 servings
Maybe a couple of grapefruit - 2
Pre-packaged Dole-type fruit cups for lunches - 6 servings
A couple of frozen containers of 100% juice - 12 servings
A berry dessert if we're lucky - 8 servings
Dried fruit for granola - 8 servings or so
If my mental math is correct, that's about 62 servings...only about half of what we need. Yikes! So now what?
If we each ate a banana, apple, and orange or 100% juice per day per week, that would be 126 servings and more like the recommended daily requirement. Throw in a fruit dessert and perhaps dried fruit with breakfast cereal, we might actually exceed the minimum amounts and approach more healthy levels. Is it doable? It certainly looks like it on paper. If you're filling up with whole, unprocessed foods that are hopefully taking up stomach space and cravings for those other things that aren't so good for us but still call out our names, we've got to be pursuing a more healthy food intake.
But I'm not sure if I'm ready for the data: the grocery list this coming weekend would have to have a staggering 42 bananas, 42 apples, and 42 oranges. Well perhaps some of those could be minused by the fruit cups sent in lunches and dried fruit with breakfast cereal. But still...that's a whopping lot of fruit! The scary thought is that I haven't even thought about the veggie aspect yet...there are more recommended servings per day there than for fruit.
What do you think? Is it worth your health and the eating habits of your children you are responsible for to make such an effort? Is it overkill? Does it really matter what you eat? And how much would that add to the grocery bill? It sure looks like I've opened up a can of worms for myself to deal with. In the meantime, tell me your thoughts. I really would love to find out how others ensure their families truly are getting a balanced diet.