Most Americans Aren't Eating Enough Fruits And Veggies, So Here Are 5 Delicious Ways To Fix That Problem

When the Center for Disease Control publishes its Weekly Mortality and Morbidity Report, it's like the whole country is getting a doctor's checkup. While it may be a bit disheartening and depressing (I mean, it's even in the name: You can't tiptoe around something called the Weekly Mortality and Morbidity Report), ultimately, it's important to get news about our nation's health, even if it's not ideal. The most recent report showed that most Americans aren't eating enough fruits and vegetables, which isn't so great. But guess what? There's good news, too: It's totally something we can work on, and in some amazingly delicious ways, at that.

The CDC report indicated that the amount of adults that are getting the recommended amounts of fruit (one to one and a half cups) and vegetables (two to three cups) varied widely by state. In California, for example, 17.7 percent of adults ate the recommended daily amount of fruit, while in Tennessee, only 7.5 percent did. Same goes for veggies: About 13 percent of California residents ate the recommended amount, while only 5.5 percent of Mississippi residents did. No matter where you're looking at, though, the numbers are way, way too low for our own good.

Fruit and vegetables not only really important sources of vitamins and fiber, but they also play important roles in protecting you against various diseases and illnesses. If that doesn't convince you, eating fruits and veggies is also the most foolproof way to keep your skin, hair, and nails looking gorgeous. So why are we falling so flat when it comes to taking care of ourselves?

Maybe it's because we're thinking about fruits and veggies all wrong. I totally get that the idea of sitting down with a tub of lettuce and cauliflower is unappealing, but there are so many delicious ways to get your fruit and veg on. Check out some of the tricks and recipes below to maximize your fruit and veggie intake. I promise you'll like them.

1. Kale Parmesan Crisps

Kale is maybe the trendiest vegetable out there, but it has a good reputation for a reason: It's so versatile, and so good for you. All you have to do is tear up your kale, spray it with cooking spray, sprinkle a few teaspoons of Parmesan cheese on it, and bake it at 400 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes.

2. Butternut Squash Fries

I think we can all agree that fries are everything, but if you swap out the potato for a more nutritious vegetable and bake it instead of fry it, they're both guilt free and good for you. Try these butternut squash fries from Bare Root Girl.

3. Put Fruits in Your Salad

This is a double-duty way to stock up on fruit and veg. A lot of people don't realize that putting fruit in your salad can add both sweetness and flavor. Try this Blueberry and Apricot Salad from Green Kitchen Stories, or just throw your favorite fruits in next time you're making a salad.

4. One-Ingredient Banana Ice Cream

This dessert trick might change your life: take a banana and freeze it, then toss it in a blender and whip for a couple of minutes. Suddenly, before your eyes, it will transform into the consistency of ice cream. It's magical. Top it with more fruit for an added bonus (nuts and chocolate work, too).

5. Smoothies

If you really don't like the taste of vegetables, there's no easier way to mask their flavor than in a smoothie. Try this Green Mojito Smoothie from Love and Lemons — it's jam-packed with healthy things for you.

Images: JPellgan/ Flickr; Saltwaterfitness/ Instagram; Bare Root Girl; Green Kitchen Stories; Love and Lemons