I find many of my clients who crave more energy and want to lose weight aren’t eating enough fruits and vegetables. Investing a little time with your prep work helps ensure you're ready to rock your produce.
Fruits and vegetables are a cornerstone of a healthy body. They work from deep inside on a cellular level, affect our outward appearance and aid in shedding excess weight. Fiber and water in fruits and veggies support good digestion, help you feel fuller and the more you eat the less compatible junk food becomes.
Wasting perishables is all too common so here are some tips to make the most of your produce:
1. Hit the produce section first and pick up seasonal and organic if possible.
Shop ahead for the next three to six days.
2. Prepare whatever veggies and fruit you can ahead to make it easy for meals, snacks or juicing later in the week.
In the end you'll save time, money and be more likely to use them before they get funky. Most can be prepped ahead of time except for things like avocado, which turn brown quickly. Chop or dice onions, celery, garlic, peppers, carrots, broccoli, etc. to use in salads, sauces, stir-fries, omelets, casseroles, or as a steamed side dish. Store in airtight containers (adding a little bit of water is optional) or store in reusable baggies. This can save 15-20 minutes of prep time and you'll be more likely to jump into making a home-cooked meal.
3. Wash leafy greens and let air-dry or use a spinner.
Wrap leaves in a tea-towel or paper towels and store in a baggie. I save the paper towels for wiping up the kitchen later and the baggies I re-use over and over. It’s key to let leaves dry before storing otherwise they quickly turn slimy.
4. Grate carrots, beets or zucchini and store in fridge.
They're a quick, delicious addition to salads.
5. In a pinch, buy prepared organic fruits and veggies.
Prepared organic foods are more expensive but handy if you’re on your way home from a long day and want to make sure you get those fruits and veggies down the hatch.
6. When sautéing onions, garlic, peppers or mushrooms for a meal, double up the amount.
Spoon out the extra and refrigerate to add into another meal later in the week.
7. Place washed whole fruit like apples, oranges, plums and pears in a bowl on the kitchen table.
You’ll have a healthy snack ready to roll when you and your family are on the run.
8. Wash lemons and limes, dry and store in fridge or in a bowl on the counter.
I add lemon and lime to many of my recipes and drinking water. It saves time having them clean and ready to cut.
9. Wash, peel and slice berries, pineapple and melons and store in the fridge for eating throughout the week.
I love eating them cold and having them ready to plop into smoothies. (Make sure berries aren't "too wet" when you store.)
10. Wash grapes and freeze in baggies or cups for a yummy healthy treat.
This is one of my favorite sweet-tooth craving busters.
11. Freeze prepared fruit for smoothies.
Or make your own vitamin-drink by adding “frozen fruit-cubes” to a glass or pitcher of water.
12. Get your partner or family involved in the shopping and prep work.
It’s a great way to spend quality time together and reinforce the importance and rewards of investing a little time now for days of easier, healthy eating.
Please share below some of your favorite tips and tricks for making the most of your produce.