Are you getting the recommended daily allowance of fruits and vegetables in your diet? MyPlate.gov explains just how many servings you need. Getting enough fruits and veggies each day can protect you from heart disease, bone loss, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and even some cancers! Every September, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (or CDC) promotes the health benefits of these food groups by celebrating Fruit and Veggies—More Matters Month. If you’re not eating enough because of the cost, check out these tips for getting more fruits and veggies in your diet without spending more.
Buy What’s In Season Consider the rule of supply and demand. When supply is up the cost typically goes down. And when you shop for fruits and vegetables that are in-season, you’ll usually pay less. Check out this informative interactive map from epicurious.com to find out what you should be shopping for. Simply select the month and your state to find out what is most plentiful right now. For instance, this month in Texas you’ll find the best bargains on apples, cucumbers, peppers, summer squash and more.
Store Food Properly
No matter how great of a deal you get on your fresh fruit and produce, if you don’t eat it before it goes bad you’re throwing money in the trash. Check out this list of helpful hints for storing produce so that it stays fresh for as long as possible. For example, storing strawberries in a paper bag in the fridge will help them last longer. But to keep tomatoes fresh longer, never refrigerate them.
Trade Ice Cream for Fruit
Ice cream isn’t always cheap either. But instead of eating this sugary treat for dessert, trade it out for fruit a couple of days a week. Find inspiration in these easy fruit salad recipes.
Look for Deals on Frozen and Canned
While fresh vegetables and fruit may be best, frozen and canned varieties still count towards your recommended daily allowance. Look for bargains on canned varieties. Just make sure you choose vegetables low in sodium and fruits packaged in 100% juice, not syrup.
Avoid Pre-Packaged Veggies
A bag of carrots will cost significantly less than their peeled and chopped counterparts. Same goes with leafy greens—buying a head of lettuce will cost less than if you buy it pre-washed and bagged. Keep in mind that convenience costs extra.
By Alison Storm
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