Read It Before You Eat It: Fresh Vegetables

Thankfully, shopping for vegetables is a lot simpler than shopping for eggs. Mostly because vegetables are always good for you, even if they've been exposed to pesticides. With vegetables, making a good choice mostly involves determining if its seasonal and if its local.

First, a few quick reasons vegetables (and fruit) are always good for you:
-Naturally high in fiber
-Fresh vegetables are either sodium-free or low in sodium
-Plants don't produce cholesterol
-More vitamins, minerals, etc. than any other food group

But you probably already knew that, so on to the more important stuff.

Seasonal: Most produce that's out of season has traveled between 1,500 and 2,500 miles to get to us, plus it was picked before it ripened. Vegetables picked before they're ripe don't taste as good and haven't had a chance to develop all the vitamins and minerals. (Side note: 'long-distance' produce uses resources such as oil, which isn't good for the environment.)
Local: Local, seasonal produce is fresher, tastes better, and doesn't need as many preservatives. Plus, you support your local farmers. Epicurious.com has a interactive seasonal ingredient map that helps you find vegetables growing in your area.
Color: The more color you eat, the bigger range of nutrients you're getting. Eat as many bright, deeply colored vegetables as you can. Try to eat red, orange, green, yellow and white.
Organic: With vegetables, organic refers more to how it was produced. Some vegetables are more pesticide-laden than others, even after they've been washed. **The Environmental Working Group says consumers can reduce their exposure to pesticides by 80% by avoiding the most contaminated fruits and vegetables.

"Dirty" Vegetables:                               "Clean" Vegetables:
apples                                                      asparagus
bell peppers                                            avocados
carrots                                                     bananas
cherries                                                   broccoli
celery                                                       cabbage
grapes                                                     cauliflower
greens (lettuce, kale, spinach)         corn
nectarines                                              eggplant
peaches                                                   garlic
pears                                                        kiwis
potatoes                                                   mangoes
raspberries                                             onions
strawberries                                           pineapple
                                                                  sweet potatoes

Now remember: we're supposed to be eating five servings of fruits and vegetables per day. That's 2 1/2 cups of vegetables, 2 1/2 cups of fruit. I'm not even close, unfortunately. Hopefully ya'll are better at eating your vegetables than I am!

No comments:

Post a Comment