Grab and Go Fruits and Veggies

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.
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