As a parent, one of your most vital jobs is to help your kids grow up healthy. And one of the keys to a healthy family is providing them with truly good food. If you’re like many of our clients, you probably have some big questions about how to do that.
Since it’s September, nationally known as “Fruits and Vegetables: More Matters” month, your team at Choices Pregnancy Center wants to give you some of those answers here.
Where Can I Get Affordable Fruits and Vegetables?
Good, affordable produce can be as close as your local Walmart or Aldi store. For a little extra fun, take the kids to your local farmers market. Many farmers markets now accept EBT/Snap, and even reward you with $10 of Market Bucks for each $10 you spend on any given day. (Learn more about how that works here.)
Worried about using up your EBT funds? Remember that spending those funds on fresh produce is a very wise investment in your family’s health.
There are lots of good reasons to increase the amount of fruit and veggies that you and your family eat. Preventing or reducing serious diseases (such as obesity and diabetes) is one very important reason. Healthy food is much cheaper than paying for doctor visits and medications!
Other reasons to ramp up the amount of produce you feed your family include their delicious flavors, their bright colors, and that they can be so fun for kids to eat!
How Do I Choose Good Quality Fruit and Vegetables?
Today’s canned or frozen fruits and vegetables can be full of nutrition. That’s great news for folks like us here in Minnesota, where the growing season is short. Choose veggies canned with low salt, and fruits canned in juice instead of syrup. Pick cans that are not dented.
Fresh produce should not be damaged or bruised, or have split skins or obvious signs of rot (mold, discoloration, etc.). Try to buy individual pieces, not those already packaged in ways that don’t let you see the food’s condition.
For specific guidelines for particular kinds of produce, check out some of the short videos here.
How Do I Store Fruits and Vegetables?
Canned produce lasts indefinitely at room temperature as long as the can is in good shape. Frozen produce will last for several months in the freezer; however, once lots of ice crystals form and/or the food looks dry it needs to be discarded.
For fresh produce, storage requirements vary with the type of food. Some things like bananas and tomatoes do best at room temperature. Others, like greens and berries, need refrigeration. Many kinds of fruits and vegetables can also be frozen if you carefully prepare and cover them.
This site contains an alphabetical list of fruits and vegetables and explains how to store them.Healthy food is cheaper than doctor visits and medicine! Fruits & Vegetables #MOREMATTERS Click To Tweet
How Do I Prepare Them?
The internet is full of recipe sites. Try this one from Midwest Living.
Choices Pregnancy Center exists to help families grow up healthy and strong.
American Heart Association’s guidelines for children’s healthy diet: https://www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/shopping-storing/more-shopping-storing/how-to-store-vegetables