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Marginalized Vegetables

Gravy-soaked mashed potatoes.  Sausage-studded stuffing.  It's safe to say that these staples of the holiday-season table get more plate space than cruciferous vegetables.

Cruci-what?  Cruciferous vegetables, while they all belong to the cabbage family, are as diverse as Brussels sprouts, arugula, watercress, and even turnips, rutabagas, and parsnips.  But let's face it.  Few of us follow the sound advice to have at least half our dinner plate filled with vegetables--potatoes not included.  A recent report finds that only 14% of American adults are eating the recommended daily servings of fruits and vegetables.  High school students do even worse at 10%.  The situation isn't localized; not a single state even came to close to recommended objectives for adults.

Maybe, just maybe, change is on the way.  As the percentage of older Americans increases and the population becomes more ethnically diverse, the federal Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service projects small declines in per-capita consumption of fried potatoes, cheese, sugar, beef, and poultry, together with an increase in consumption of fruits and vegetables.


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