Now more than ever before you can buy a wide selection of fruits and vegetables to “grab and go.” We have enjoyed many of these in our own kitchen. Here is what we are finding and buying as gone are the days of extensive peeling, chopping. prepping and cooking.
- Potatoes and sweet potatoes - combined with veggies and salads, these make a lean and healthy meal or snack. Wash, poke, nuke; and voila! you have dinner ready.
- Broccoli florets - grocery stores are offering packages of broccoli florets so all you have to do is rinse and nuke (or steam).
- Apples, bananas, pears and tangerines can all be taken on the go. Grocery stores are doing a great job of offering items that are very appealing and wide in variety.
- Fresh stir fry veggies - these come in packages and are chopped and ready to go in the pan. You can even buy minced ginger and garlic, too!
- Little boxes of raisins
- Dried cranberries and other berries
- Tubs of fruit salad-These are a bargain if you want a variety and do not want the mess or bulk of actually having to buy all different fruits to just create a small bowl.
- Packaged salads - you can buy a variety of fresh lettuce that is already prepared.
- Small tomatoes and carrots - these are already bite-sized and ready to eat.
- Seedless grapes - we wash these and put them in single-portion baggies and they fly out the door.
- Dried tomatoes - some even come in bags and are already sliced in julienne strips - ready to sprinkle in salads, rice and pasta dishes for color and rich flavor.
- Tubes of chopped fresh herbs
- Asparagus - snap off the bottoms, rinse and put in the toaster oven and these are ready in 5 minutes.
- Frozen fruits and veggies - of course there are unlimited amounts of frozen veggies that only need reheating - stock up and these carry you between shopping days.
- Lunch packs of fruit in juice - pears, oranges, peaches and more come in small to-go packs.
Easy ways to remember fruit and vegetable serving sizes
Choosemyplate.gov recommends that most individuals get 2 cups of fruit and 2.5 cups of vegetables each day. A serving is usually about a cup, which is easy to visualize if you think tomatoes and apples.
- A medium-sized apple is about the size of a cup of fruit. Remember it is best to eat whole fruit versus canned, dried or juice because it is lower in calories and or higher in fiber and usually does not have added sugar.
- A large ripe tomato is about the size of a cup as well. So, when you are eating other types of vegetables if you visualize a tomato you can better guess the size of a cup. Nonstarchy vegetables are the lowest in calories but potatoes, corn, legumes and sweet potatoes are all very high in fiber and nutrients and are still lower in calories than many processed foods including baked goods and items made with white flour.
- A great tip for those trying to cut calories and food costs these days is to use a smaller plate.
- Using the MyPlate healthy plate concept, fill half the plate with fruits and veggies, one quarter with lean protein and one quarter with a cooked whole grain.
Judy’s passion for cooking began with helping her grandmother make raisin oatmeal for breakfast. From there she earned her first food service job at 15, was accepted to the world famous Culinary Institute of America at 18 (where she graduated second in her class), and went on to the Fachschule Richemont in Switzerland where she focused on pastry arts and baking. But after learning that the quality of a croissant directly varies with how much butter it has, Judy sought to challenge herself by coming up with recipes that were as healthy as they were tasty.
Judy received The Culinary Institute of America’s Pro Chef II certification, the American Culinary Federation Bronze Medal, Gold Medal, and ACF Chef of the Year. Her enthusiasm for eating nutritiously and deliciously leads her to constantly innovate and use the latest in nutritional science to guide her creativity, from putting new twists on fajitas to adapting Italian brownies to include ingredients like toasted nuts and cooked honey. Judy’s publishing company, Food and Health Communications, is dedicated to her vision that everyone can make food that tastes as good as it is for you.