April 10, 2015 – Calcium, fiber and folate, oh my! Maintaining a diet rich in fruits and vegetable has extensive benefits for our bodies, but knowing what to pick and how to prepare them to get the most nutrients can be tricky. We had our ALDI Advisory Council weigh in with their best advice on how to incorporate more color into your diet.
Choose vegetable and fruit-based carbs
Does the low carb craze have you confused? Choose your carbs mostly from whole foods – vegetables, fruits, yams, beans, nuts and seeds. They tend to be better for you than carbs that come in a box — help control blood pressure, keep glucose under control and lower cholesterol levels.
The more color, the better!
Fill your cart with at least 5 different colors of fruits and vegetables for optimal nutritional benefits all week. If you are lacking colors, you might have too much processed food and too little fresh produce.
Incorporate tropical fruits
Incorporate these tropical fruits that are packed with essential vitamins and minerals – papaya, mango, pineapple and guava.
Try part starch, part root vegetables
Try part starch, part root vegetables such as pumpkin, sweet potatoes and carrots – eat them for an excellent source of fiber and complex carbohydrates.
Eat produce that is in season
Eat food that’s in season, like peaches in summer, apples in fall and citrus fruits in the winter. You’ll pay less and get better quality.
Stock produce that is ready to eat
Make healthy eating a no-brainer by stocking washed, chopped salad greens and veggies that are ready to grab from the fridge. Place a bowl of apples, bananas and pears on the counter as a visual cue to grab something healthy.
Avoid boiling vegetables
Avoid boiling vegetables for an extended period as this depletes vegetables of their nutrients.
Make a platter of raw veggies
Make a platter of raw veggies as an “appetizer” before dinner and let your kids munch away. Including ranch or Italian salad dressing as a dip may encourage them to eat even more.
Add produce to your milk/yogurt smoothies
Snack attack! Blend fresh or frozen fruit with milk or yogurt for smoothies that supply the protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals necessary for good health. For variety, add cooked sweet potato or raw spinach to fruit-based drinks.
Store your fruits and veggies the right way!
If you cut your veggies, eat them sooner than later to ensure freshness or stock up and extend the life of your favorites by placing them in the freezer. To learn more about freezing veggies read our blog post, Fresh Veggies… From the Freezer!
Tell us your favorite tip for produce!