1. Buy in season: Fresh fruits and vegetables that have been shipped from across the world tend to lose its nutritional value by the time they reach supermarket shelves; and these are likely more expensive. Out-of-season fruits and vegetables are best when bought frozen because they are picked and packaged at their nutritional peak. November’s in-season produce includes broccoli, spinach, mushrooms, winter squash (butternut, acorn, spaghetti), pears, oranges, tangerines, pomegranates and sweet potatoes.
2. Use a pesticide wash for all non-organic fruits and vegetables. Whether you buy a commercial produce wash or a do-it-yourself version using vinegar and lemon, it’s important that all fruits and veggies are washed properly. If your budget allows it, choose to buy the organic products that are known to contain higher levels of pesticides. Otherwise known as the “dirty dozen”,
the following list of fruits and vegetables have been tested by the Environmental Working Group to be the most contaminated:
·Sweet bell peppers
3. Drink more water and get rid of the soda and sugary beverages. Besides the fact that water is free, recent studies by the Harvard School of Public Health and the American Heart Association showed that soft drinks and other sugar-sweetened beverages are linked to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and metabolic syndromes.
4. Check the labels on canned or frozen items for any added sugar or salt. Look for canned vegetables that say “no salt added” or “low-sodium”. Canned fruits often have added sugar or syrup which decreases the health benefits also.
5. Plan and prepare ahead by cooking in bulk and portioning out leftovers into individual-sized containers for the remainder of the week. You will be less likely to eat out or grab for something that is quick and unhealthy.
6. Make the switch to whole grains. Items like whole wheat bread, whole grain pasta and brown rice are better substitutes than their white counterparts. Ronzoni’s Healthy Harvest brand of pasta comes in a variety of shapes, including lasagna noodles,
and contains 30g of fiber. It virtually tastes the same and your kids will never know the difference!
7. Check the labels of fruit juices for added sugar or high-fructose corn syrup. Orange juice is usually the option with the least amount of sugar. Look for brands with 100% juice or Tropicana’s Trop50, which contains 50% less sugar and no unnatural sweeteners.
8. Buy in bulk. Non-perishable items like organic butter, rice, and even organic frozen broccoli can be found at superstores like Sam’s Club or Costco. Meat bought in bulk can be separated into individual or family-sized portions and frozen for later use.
9. Avoid processed foods. Most products that come in a box are loaded with unhealthy ingredients such as sugar, sodium, saturated fats and partially hydrogenated oils known as“trans-fats”. High consumption of these ingredients leads to obesity, heart disease and diabetes. Though these items tend to be cheaper, you’re not getting the value out of your money by eating empty
calories or food that does not provide you any real nutrition.
10. Buy produce locally. Whether you are at the farmer’s market in Santurce, or shopping at the local farm stand, foods grown locally tend to be fresher and less expensive than the organic foods found in the grocery store. Many local farmers grow produce with low pesticide or herbicides; however they do not obtain the required government organic rating due to the high cost.
Holpuch, Amanda. “10 Best and Worst Food Issues in America.” Fitbie. http://fitbie.msn.com/eat-right/10-best-and-worst-food-issues-america
“The“Dirty” Dozen”. http://www.organic.org/articles/showarticle/article-214. From original source: Environmental Working Group, www.ewg.org