Healthy Shopping: A Reference Guide to Buying Produce

by Randi

 

 

Vegetables, vegetables, fruits…and more vegetables!

This is what makes up the produce section of your local supermarket or health foods store. Boy, can it seem like a lot!

 

     It is pretty common knowledge that the number one thing missing from the standard American diet is fresh fruits and vegetables. As a result, obesity, diabetes and heart disease are all on the rise. It is essential that people shop more in the produce section  of the grocery store than any other area in order to help stop and reverse this trend. To help make it a fun, enjoyable and different experience, here are some tips to follow so you can get more of that yummy produce into your grocery cart!   

 

  #1 Eat all the  colors of the rainbow.   

 

 When I am done shopping, I like to see a variety of colors in my cart; reds, yellows, greens, oranges, blues , purples and even white! Each color has its’ own specific place in our nutritional needs so  when you eat a wide selection of colors,  you ensure that your body  is getting all that it requires.    

 

 For example, let’s look at green foods. By the way, if fruits and vegetables are the number one thing missing from most people's diet, than green vegetables are REALLY lacking. Some great greens include kale , mustard greens and collard greens. Greens are rich in calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, vitamins A, C and E, fiber, folic acid and chlorophyll.   Leafy greens are great for purifying the blood,  immune strengthening and lifting the spirit.    

 

Another example is red foods. Red foods are rich in phytochemicals that reduce free radical damage. They also support your heart and your memory function.  A few examples are red peppers, tomatoes and pomegranates.

 

All of the colors play such an important role! I challenge you to get out there and try one of every color!

 

#2 Pick out different textures.

After color, you want to look for a variety of textures in the produce that you buy and eat. This is another way to ensure you get a variety of nutrients into your body, as well as, have a fun experience! Some examples of produce textures include delicate and leafy, dense and strong, and light and crispy. To make a meal more interesting, you could serve two side dishes of different textures like a salad with arugula and a root vegetable like sweet potatoes. This gives you two varying textures and a variety of color.

 

 #3 Look for produce  that is in season.   

 

 Eating produce that is in season tastes the best and gives your body what nature intended you to have at that time of the year.  Produce in season is also cheaper than those that are not.  Depending on where you live, the produce  in season will vary due to the climate.    

 It is summertime and foods that are in season right now help to cool us off from the heat. Cucumbers, watermelons, peaches, raspberries and blueberries are some perfect examples. It was scorching hot where I live this past weekend and I was eating watermelon like crazy! It was like my body could not get enough. It helped me feel cool and refreshed! I could never imagine eating watermelon like that if the weather was cooler because it is such a cooling fruit.  

 

If you are not sure which fruits and vegetables are in season when you are shopping, you can always ask. Click here to see a chart showing some of the commonly purchased produce and their peak seasons.

 

#4 Know when to buy organic.

 

It is not my place to tell you whether or not you and your family should eat organic. I believe everyone should take time to research what organic means, the health claims and then make an educated decision based upon their research.  If you are interested in doing this, here are some websites you can check out:

The Center For Food Safety

Organic Consumers Association

 

My goal is to get more fruits and vegetables into your body and if the only way you can do that is to buy conventionally grown produce, then buy them! Whether they are organic or not is not as important as getting them into your body, just get them into your body!

 

I do not buy organic produce that often. I tend to buy more local to help support small, local farms. However, as often as possible, I buy organic foods that are on the list of “The Dirty Dozen.” This is a list compiled by the Environmental Working Group that shows fruits and vegetables that tend to be grown with the highest levels of pesticides. They are:

 

  • Apples
  • Bell Peppers
  • Celery
  • Cherries
  • Grapes (imported)
  • Lettuce
  • Nectarines
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Potatoes
  • Spinach
  • Strawberries

For your reference, here is there list of fruits and vegetables containing the lowest level of pesticides according to the Environmental Working Group: 

  • Asparagus
  • Avocados
  • Bananas
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Corn
  • Eggplant
  • Kiwis
  • Mangoes
  • Onions
  • Peas
  • Pineapple

 

Of the few tips I gave here, the biggest one I want to leave you with is this, and if you can, write this down!

 

EAT MORE FRUITS AND VEGETABLES!

 

You can’t eat more fruits and vegetables if you don’t buy more fruits and vegetables, so buy them! If you come back and say you can’t buy them, I know you are buying something to eat or else you wouldn’t be alive and reading this. Ah ha! Gotcha!

 

Also, if you say you don’t like fruits and vegetables, than my challenge to you would be that you haven’t tried them all. As I have already mentioned, there are so many colors, textures, seasonal and local produce out there, I know you can find at least one that you like. If you truly only find one, than at least eat that one as often as possible.

I challenge you to try something new and different from each of these tips.

  • Try a different color fruit or vegetable this week.
  • Pick out something based upon its texture.
  • Look for produce that is in season and see if you can taste a difference.
  • Buy an organic item from the dirty dozen list.

Will you get out there and try something new this week? Are you excited to explore the variety of colors and textures the next time you are grocery shopping? I would love to have your comments below or visit me on Facebook.

Health and blessings,

 

Randi

   

Randi's passion is to create positive change in a person's life that leads to prolonged health and happiness. She works with individuals who wish to lose weight, increase their energy, lower stress and manage and prevent disease through the use of natural health solutions. She is a Certified Holistic Health Coach, exercise enthusiast and rep for Young Living Essential Oils.

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