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When Farmer’s Markets Are Dwindling Or Gone

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When Farmer’s Markets Are Dwindling Or Gone

....and less produce is in season, you can still get the nutrients you need if you know where to look and how to shop.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends that you get about 2 cups of fruit and 2 1/2- 3 cups of vegetables a day (go here to see what 2- 3 cups of fruits and veggies translates to).

Here are some tips to help you maintain this intake.

Keep it in Sight

When the summer sun is sheltering and the temperatures are high it’s easy to crave high water content foods to cool us off and hydrate. I know that when the weather gets colder I tend to crave less fruit. To help you and your family eat more fruit, keep it in a bowl on the table or the counter where it can be seen and grabbed. I even put my colorful bell peppers, and avocados there until I use them or they need to be preserved in the refrigerator (if I don’t use them fast enough).

The most vibrant vegetables have the most bioflavonoids (nutrients/antioxidants). The color is also a sensory satisfaction that lends one to more mindful eating. I keep these foods in sight to remind me- entice me even- to look here first when I’m feeling snackish.

Washing Tip: Wash all fresh produce. Even organic produce can carry bacteria on the surface that can be transferred to the knife/hands and then into thefruit/vegetable. You can use an easy spray of equal parts white vinegar and water to spray the produce, and then rinse this off after a minute. Or just rinse with cold water if need be. For potatoes and cantaloupe (produce with more textured, bumpy skins) I use a produce brush. This helps remove more bacteria, dirt and other foreign matter.

Dried Fruit or Veggies

1/2 cup of dried fruit counts as a cup of fresh, and dried veggies translate cup for cup. They’re easy to tote to school/work and they don’t require a lot of cleanup. Just make sure to choose the ones with less to no added salts and sugars. Apples, blueberries, apricots and raisins are often dried with just their own natural sweetness. You can add dried fruit to a trail mix or salad. Dried peas and beans can be a surprisingly satisfying crunchy snack.

Frozen Fruits or Veggies

Frozen fruits and vegetables often have as much nutrients as their fresh counterparts. Look for those without added sweeteners and sodium. You can use frozen fruit for a smoothie, yogurt topping or cereal/oatmeal, for example. Frozen fruit bars without too much added sugar are great too. Frozen veggies can be sold in high-fat, hush-sodium sauces so try to avoid these.

Trick: Pour desired amount of frozen veggies into a microwave-safe bowl, add water to an inch above the veggies and cook on high for 3-5 min, strain and add to dish. This keeps them from pruning and wilting when cooked. And make sure the bag is resealed tightly when you’re returning it to the freezer to prevent freezer-burn.

 

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