When Fruits & Veggies are in Season

by Nicole Bloomberg, MBA
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“Eat your fruits and vegetables.”

 You’ve likely heard this statement since childhood but, did you think about why it is important to eat what is in season?

**It is cheaper, when produce is in season locally:
1. Abundance of the crop usually makes it less expensive & fresher

2.Many people are surprised to find that a wide variety of crops are harvested in the fall (squash, apples, endive, garlic, grapes, figs, mushrooms) and winter (citrus, kale, radishes, turnips, leeks) in addition to products that we readily associate with the summer like sweet peas, corn, peaches, cucumbers, tomatoes, zucchini, and green beans. To find out what’s harvested seasonally in your area, go to www.localharvest.org to find farmers’ markets near you and seasonal produce guides.

3.Transporting produce sometimes requires irradiation (zapping the produce with a burst of radiation to kill germs) and preservatives (such as wax) to protect the produce which is subsequently refrigerated during the trip.

4. Grow yourself or go to local farmers market-You’ll be rewarded with high quality produce, packed with nutrition, at a lower cost

• Healthy diets rich in fruits and vegetables may reduce the risk of cancer and other diseases.
• Heart disease
• High blood pressure
• Type II diabetes
• Certain cancers
• Fruits and vegetables also provide essential vitamins and minerals, fiber, and disease-fighting phytochemicals. Because of this, eating plenty of fruits and vegetables everyday.
• Most fruits and vegetables are naturally low in fat and calories. Make a great snack for you & your kids

Not sure how many fruits and vegetables you should be eating each day?

• Visit the Fruit and Vegetable Calculator. Here you can calculate your fruit and vegetable recommendations based on your calorie needs for your age, sex, and activity level. This site also has helpful tips and photographs of 1/2 cup and 1 cup fruit and vegetable examples.
• Ever wondered what counted as ½ a cup of fruit or veggies without counting? Visit: What Counts as a Cup?
This visual example of what counts as a cup helps simplify the answer.
• Want to know how much you need of each food group; including fruits and vegetables? Visit: MyPlate Daily Food Plan to find out and receive a customized Daily Food Plan.
• To lose weight, you must eat fewer calories than your body uses.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to eat less food. You can create lower-calorie versions of some of your favorite dishes by substituting low-calorie fruits and vegetables in place of higher-calorie ingredients. The water and fiber in fruits and vegetables will add volume to your dishes, so you can eat the same amount of food with fewer calories. Most fruits and vegetables are naturally low in fat and calories and are filling.

Breakfast: Start the Day Right

• Substitute some veggies like spinach, onions, or mushrooms for one of the eggs.
• Eat fruit like bananas or strawberries.

Light Lunch

• Substitute vegetables bread with a lettuce wrap. Go vegetarian and eat tofu.
• The new version will fill you up with fewer calories than the original.
• Have soup!


Add in 1 cup of chopped vegetables such as broccoli, tomatoes, squash, onions, or peppers, while removing 1 cup of the rice or pasta in your favorite dish. The dish with the vegetables will be just as satisfying but have fewer calories than the same amount of the original version.

• Take a good look at your dinner plate. Vegetables, fruit, and whole grains should take up the largest portion of your plate.
• If they do not, replace some of the meat, cheese, white pasta, or rice with legumes, steamed broccoli, asparagus, greens, or another favorite vegetable. This will reduce the total calories in your meal without reducing the amount of food you eat. BUT remember to use a normal- or small-size plate — not a platter. The total number of calories that you eat counts, even if a good proportion of them come from fruits and vegetables
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