Diet and Nutrition

Are Bagged Greens the Secret to Getting Americans to Eat Their Vegetables?

National Public Radio recently reported on the increasing consumption of bagged salad greens. It seems busy, hungry Americans are turning to the convenient packaged veggies to fill out their meals and get closer to the government’s helpful, but sometimes hard to reach, recommended vegetable consumption goals.

Getting all types of foods into your meals everyday can be a challenge. But working them all in over the course of a week is much more practical and still a fantastic way to make sure you are getting your needs met.

The USDA breaks down its recommendations by age and gender. They also specify that these guidelines are for individuals who get less than 30 minutes of daily moderate physical activity. If you are more active, you may need more food to keep your body running at full steam. Daily guidelines are available, but it can be more helpful to think in terms of eating by the week. Getting all types of foods into your meals everyday can be a challenge. But working them all in over the course of a week is much more practical and still a fantastic way to make sure you are getting your needs met.

USDA weekly veg chart

NPR reports that our consumption of leaf and Romaine lettuce has more than tripled since 1985. Advancements in washing and storing the greens has made them a safer and more nutritious option. Some of that extra nutrition comes from the variety that is packed in mixed greens.

“Decades ago, head lettuce — widely recognized as iceberg — and Romaine were the most common options. But these two greens are not nearly as nutrient-dense as the mixes of dark, leafy greens that are now widely available — yes, in bags.

Just yesterday, we picked up a $5 clamshell of Earthbound Farm’s Herb Blend, which includes varieties of lettuces such as Lolla Rosa and Asian Mizuna that we might otherwise never eat.

The clamshells also pack in arugula, spinach, chard and other dark greens that can serve up a whole day’s worth of vitamins A and K in a big salad. (There’s also lots of vitamin C, as well as dietary minerals such as magnesium and potassium that we’re told to consume more of.)”

Read the edited transcript here, or listen to the full conversation on NPR’s Morning Edition:

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Alison Relyea-Parr

Alison Relyea-Parr

Alison is the editor and contributor of Womenshealth.com. A UW-Madison graduate, Alison is also an illustrator and educator.

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