Aug 4, 2020

What I Learned from Tracking my Fruit and Vegetable Consumption in July

Flash back to a couple of months ago: I'd known for a while that I ought to eat more fruit and vegetables ... but I didn't realize just how short I was falling. The CDC recommends 1 1/2 to 2 cups of fruit and 2 to 3 cups of vegetables per day. I was maybe eating half that. (I was probably eating more before the quarantine hit, because I used to go to the farmers market twice a week.)

So in July, I decided to keep track of how much produce I was eating, with the goal of getting to 10 servings per day. I knew I would probably eat at least as much fruit as I did vegetables, and I was okay with that.

I went low-maintenance - just a numbered list in the Notes app on my iPhone (although there are many apps and journals designed for tracking). After the first couple of days, I realized that I needed to make more an effort to prep the fruit and veggies if I was to eat more of them, and I've been doing reasonably well ever since. I don't get to 10 every day, and I rarely get to 12 or more. I also got a little complacent toward the end of July. But I'm still eating double the amount of fruit and vegetables than I did in June.

My progress is hardly surprising. The strategy of monitoring is suggested as a "pillar" in Gretchen Rubin's book on building habits, and a Google search for "habit tracker" comes up with nearly 13 million results. Simply being aware of what you're doing can cause you to change your behavior.

Other factors that have been in my favor include the farm fresh produce from Edible Gardens LA, stone fruit season (I adore peaches, plums, and especially dinosaur pluots), and increasing my grocery pickups from one to two times a week (I do one large shopping trip at Ralphs, and then order a bunch of produce at Gelson's).

If you want to eat more fruit and veggies, or build another habit for that matter, consider some kind of monitoring or tracking system.

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