Why Don’t Adults Eat Vegetables?

The average adult knows that it’s important to eat vegetables, so why does the average adult not eat enough of them? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only 9% of U.S. adults eat the recommended amount of vegetables. Whatever reasons you may have for not eating vegetables, there’s a better reason to eat them: vegetables provide numerous health benefits.

Only 9% of American adults eat enough vegetables. The reasons why you should eat your vegetables are better than your reasons not to eat them. Click To Tweet

Why don’t adults eat vegetables?

The CDC study found that just 9.3% of American adults eat the recommended two to three cups of vegetables per day. Just 7.8% of adults in Arkansas reported meeting the two to three cup recommendation.

If you’re one of the 90% of adults who isn’t eating enough vegetables, try to identify why you aren’t eating your daily recommended servings.

  • You don’t know how many vegetables you’re supposed to eat each day (adults need two to three cups of vegetables per day).
  • You didn’t eat vegetables as a child, so you don’t eat them now.
  • You’ve grown accustomed to the salt, sugar, and fat in highly processed foods, so vegetables aren’t appealing or satisfying.
  • You normally eat highly processed, ready-made, or convenience foods, so you do not get enough vegetables in your diet.
  • You simply do not like the taste or texture of vegetables.

Maybe you have a different reason why you don’t eat vegetables. However, none of these reasons outweigh the reasons why you should eat your vegetables: they help you maintain a healthy weight, they provide important nutrients your body needs to stay healthy, and they can reduce your risk for chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer.

How to eat vegetables if you don’t like vegetables

Very few of the people who aren’t eating enough vegetables have actually tried all of the vegetables out there. Vegetables come in a wide variety of flavors and textures. Maybe you just haven’t found a vegetable you enjoy yet, or maybe you haven’t had vegetables prepared in a way that you enjoy them.

Find new vegetables

Try new vegetables until you find some that you enjoy. Vegetables can be juicy or crisp, firm or soft, and they can be bitter or sweet. Keep testing out vegetables until you find a good selection that you can eat.

Find new recipes

Try different recipes and different cooking methods. The way that you cook vegetables — whether you broil, boil, steam, braise, bake, saute, or mash — and the different seasonings and aromatics you use can greatly influence flavor and texture.

Get creative

Add vegetables to different foods that you already enjoy. Add some mushrooms or olives to your pasta and put a little spinach in your morning smoothie.

Play with different flavor combinations to make vegetables more enjoyable. Use the sweetness from an onion to tame the bitterness of Brussels sprouts.

Get started

Some people have to learn to like vegetables. The good news is that you can change your taste preferences. Try new vegetables and keep trying vegetables that you didn’t like before. You will gradually learn to enjoy them or at least enjoy the health benefits, over time.

Adding a little honey, salt, or butter can help people who aren’t already fond of vegetables; reduce the amount you use as you learn to enjoy the flavor of vegetables.

Eating vegetables is essential for good health, and there are lots of ways to add more vegetables to your diet.