Wellness Club — Produce-Packed Home-Cooked Meals

Wellness Club — Produce-Packed Home-Cooked Meals
Abingdon, VA. - Sunday, Sep 1, 2019.

written by Elizabeth Hall, MS, RDN, LDN, Food City Registered Dietitian

September is not only National Family Meals Month, it’s also Fruits and Veggies-More Matters Month! Fruits and vegetables are loaded with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber – that’s why they should make up half of your plate at meals! These nutrients help to boost the immune system and reduce your risk of developing chronic disease. Despite these benefits, only 10% of Americans meet the daily intake recommendations for fruits and vegetables. One way to up your intake is to make more meals at home! Home-cooked meals tend to be more nutritionally balanced and include more fruits and vegetables overall. All the more reason to get cooking with these easy tips this September.

Shortcuts at the Supermarket: An easy way to get more produce in a convenient way is to check out the Shortcuts section of the Food City Produce department. Shortcuts are pre-cut and washed fruits and vegetables, which are perfect to eat raw, cooked, or steamed. Another idea is to stock your cupboards and freezers with kitchen staples like canned, frozen, and dried produce and 100% fruit or vegetable juices which are nutrient-packed like fresh, but with added convenience and less waste.

Utilize your Slow Cooker: Slow Cookers aren't just for winter soups and stews – you can make a variety of different recipes in a convenient crockpot! Prep your veggies and other ingredients on the weekends when you have extra time and store prepped ingredients in airtight containers or plastic bags in the refrigerator for up to three days. Remember that tender vegetables are typically added toward the end of the cooking time to ensure a satisfying texture.

Reinvent Leftovers: Instead of serving the same recipe two nights in a row, reinvent last night's dinner into something new! If you make a large pot roast with vegetables one day, serve the leftovers as a filling for quesadillas or sandwiches on another day. Most fruits and vegetable dishes can be safely frozen to eat later. For example, leftover fresh spinach from tonight’s salad can be quickly blanched in boiling water and frozen to be used in soups and side dishes later.