Tips to Get You Past Common Fruit and Veggie Hang-Ups
#1 – Cost
Plan Meals & Buy Frozen – Do you tend to trash much of the produce you purchase because it “goes bad” before you can eat it? It is easy to be queasy when we see our precious pennies landing in the trashcan or compost pile. Planning meals ahead of time can help prevent surplus. In addition, frozen produce is nutritionally an excellent alternative to fresh (and can even be nutritionally superior), so consider frozen produce with a longer shelf life.
Freeze Surplus – On that note, if you see that you have stocked too much fresh produce for the week, freeze it before it goes bad to use at a later date. Follow these steps to freeze many types of produce:
- Wash and chop fresh produce
- Arrange on a cookie sheet in a single layer
- Freeze overnight
- Pop into stainless steel or glass containers and leave in freezer until you are ready to use (keeps for about eight months)
Buy in season – Produce that is in season will cost less than produce that isn’t in season. Check out this website to see which produce is in season where you live: https://www.fieldtoplate.com/guide/.
Shop local – Shopping local when you can is a great way to support your farmers and your pocket book. Visit local farmers markets and get to know your farmers. Many will still have food you can purchase directly from them once the farmers market closes down for the season. Local health food stores also like to support local farmers and will stock local products.
Replace less healthy foods in your diet with produce rather than just adding produce to your diet – Take a look at what you are eating now that has been taking the place of fruits and vegetables, and how the cost compares. If you look at fruits and vegetables as a replacement to unhealthy food that is filling your diet, rather than an addition, you might be more comfortable with the cost.
Prioritize – Where you place your hard-earned dollar says a lot about your priorities. Consider prioritizing nutrition and health by spending a little more in those areas and cutting back in others.
#2 – Time
Prepping and cooking fruits and vegetables can be a little more time consuming than grabbing a snack bar and hitting the road, but planning and having a routine can help you fit fruits and vegetables into your day. Plus, many fruits like apples and oranges, are just as easy and quick to grab and go as other snack foods.
Planning & Routine – When it comes to meals, planning is everything. Planning your meals for the week, when you will shop and when you will prepare vegetables is essential to your success. Aim for a routine and be specific. For example, “Every Friday after lunch I will plan my meals for the next week. Every Saturday morning, I will go to the grocery store. Every Sunday afternoon I will wash, chop and prep my produce for the week.”
Take advantage of pre-prepped foods like chopped and frozen cauliflower and pre-washed leafy greens when you can.
Choose simple cooking methods like placing on a baking sheet, seasoning and roasting in the oven, or simmering on the stove top.
Use pre-chopped or frozen produce when you can and save a step. Remember the frozen surplus in your freezer? Now is the time to pull it out.
#3 – Accessibility
Buy in season to stock your freezer with surplus. In winter, you can pull frozen summer produce from your freezer and enjoy it year-round.
Shop the frozen section of your local grocery store for more variety.
Search nationally – there are several online companies that ship produce across the country as well as food cooperatives that deliver across the country.