You are here
You’ve heard the same broken record for years: eat your fruits and vegetables. We’ve even tried to make eating fruits and veggies a fun thing for kids with the “Eat the Rainbow” motto and the “5-A-Day” serving guidelines.
As a parent, you know the popular nutrients that are commonly found in the foods you serve and want your kids to eat: Vitamin A in carrots, lycopene in tomatoes, and potassium in bananas. While these fun facts and efforts to eat healthier are valid and certainly encouraged, many of us aren’t educated on how to select and cook produce in the best interest of our families’ health.
If we are making the effort to meet our fruit and vegetable goals, we should be getting the most benefits possible. Jo Robinson, author of “Eating on the Wild Side”, proposes this very idea in her book. Robinson writes, “Some of the most popular varieties of fruits and veggies are the least nutritious of all, but our society has developed the habit of eating them for a lifetime.” If that’s the case, we need to know how to let go of some of our habits and develop new ones.
Getting more bang for your bite
Here are a few tips to help you change things up with those fruit and vegetable habits so that you are getting the most nutrients and value every time:
Recent food science has shown us that not all apples (and produce in general) were created equal. As Robinson reports, a Granny Smith apple provides 3 times more nutrients than Golden Delicious and 13 times more than Ginger Gold. Making a simple switch in your “apple-a-day” can more than triple your nutrients! Here are a few tips for other produce substitutions:
- Red produce has more antioxidants than green ones (think grapes, apples, cabbage, and bagged salads)
- The skin is the healthiest part of some produce, don’t leave it out (peaches, potatoes, apples)
- Exotic tropical fruits (guava, papaya, mango) are more nutritious than our American favorites (banana, pineapple)
- The smaller and more potent the onion, the greater its antioxidant activity
Opt for freshness
When it comes to produce, timing is everything. Certain types of fruit will continue to ripen after harvesting (avocados, bananas, mangoes, peaches, plums), while others will not (citrus fruits, berries, grapes). Fruits reach their peak nutrition at the point of ripening. Being conscience of the freshness of your produce can give you that extra punch in the long run!
A slew of fad diets have preached the message that “raw is best” – a slogan that is completely false. While the nutrients in some produce are best absorbed raw, others have increased availability through easy kitchen concoctions. Below are some ideas that may challenge your conventional recipes:
- Cook your green and orange veggies (high in fat-soluble vitamins) with an oil or other fat to increase vitamin availability
- Most berries increase their antioxidant activity when they are cooked (blueberry pie, anyone?)
- Heat or simmer tomato sauce to triple the lycopene content
- Crush fresh garlic and let it sit for 10 minutes to maximize the health-saving benefits of this seasoning
- Cook vegetables that are high in starches and carbohydrates (think potatoes, pumpkin, squash) in oil to prevent blood sugar rushes
For more information on selecting and preparing produce to it’s full potential, pick up a copy of “Eating on the Wild Side” by Jo Robinson at your local bookstore. Check out her website www.eatwild.com for further reading.
I’m sure you haven’t read anything recently about coconut oil (ha).
Is it really that bad for you? Spoiler alert- NO!!
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way- let’s explore the research.
What is coconut oil?...Read more
Free-range, pastured, organic, or natural eggs? The choices are endless! Have you ever stared at the egg section in the grocery store? There are so many options and it can be overwhelming to know what is the healthiest option. Come along with me as we finally put an end to all of these...Read more
Summer is a great excuse to step out of your comfort zone and jump into some new workouts, such as swimming, cycling, hiking, volleyball, or tennis. It’s also a perfect time to sign up for a new workout class to attend over the summer. Some of the up-and-coming workout crazes are floating water...Read more
One of the biggest questions I get is, "should I buy everything organic?" The short answer (in a dream perfect world) yes! The less toxins we can expose our bodies too, the better off we are going to be. However, I am also realistic and realize that it is expensive to buy...Read more
Coffee is everyone's favorite breakfast beverage. Most people can't start the day without their cup of joe. Why not boost the nutritional power of your coffee, and get your day started off right. In the recipe below I have included a couple of power ingredients.
- Collagen ...Read more