You may not know it, but whenever you think of the fresh, juicy flavor of a sweet corn, you’re really just dreaming of Incredible Corn. And this Washington State staple is available at all Tacoma Boys and H & L Produce locations. (more…)
We all know having a balanced, fruit and vegetable diet is important, right? After all, that’s what our parents always told us. However it seems most folks never took this advice to heart.
According to the USDA, we need 2.5 cups of veggies and 2 cups of fruit per day. However, the average American only consumes about 1.6 cups of veggies and 1 cup of fruit. How do fruits and vegetables fit into your diet plan?
Fruits and veggies contain all kinds of useful minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants. They reduce the risk of chronic diseases, and can help your waistline. They can also be a great source of fiber.
That said, many of us struggle with maintaining a fruit and vegetable diet. If you belong in this group, here are 5 ways to enhance your fruit and veggie diet.
Change Your Approach
Change the way you think about fruits and vegetables.
All too often people associate fruit and vegetable diets with a bad experience, maybe from as far back as childhood. For example; They may associate sliced tomatoes with a slimy tomato they got on a stale sandwich or corn with salty canned corn served at their grandma’s house in the eighties.
The truth is, fruits and vegetables are amazing when selected and served correctly!
Instead of shopping for canned vegetables, buy them fresh from your local produce market. If you have any questions make sure to ask the employees.
At Tacoma Boys and H&L Produce we pride ourselves in a staff that is ready answer your questions and offer suggestions.
Click to find out what’s in season.
Find new ways to serve your fruits and vegetables. Sliced, sautéed or baked with olive oil, salt and pepper.
Discover the variety of colors available with a fruit and vegetable diet. It’s truly amazing how a colorful meal can inspire a meal for friends and family.
Whether shopping for tonight’s dinner for one or a family’s meals for the week, think about which fruits and/or veggies would taste good with it. As you experiment and try different options, you will find the preferences of you and those around you.
Take It to the Road
Some of us get hungry while we’re out running errands or on the way home. This is a perfect opportunity to add another serving of fruits and vegetables into your diet!
Remember to pick convenient on-the-go snacks. Some good examples include baby carrots, blueberries, and celery sticks. Having a small container of almonds or walnuts is a shrewd choice that stores well and adds protein to your daily snacking.
The next time you are shopping at your local Tacoma Boys or H&L Produce, look into our dried vegetable and fruit options. Banana Chips and Wasabi Peas are age old favorites.
Fun Fact: Peas are not actually vegetables. Can you guess what they are?
You are more likely to eat vegetables if they’re at hand, washed and ready to eat. There are a few ways to go about this.
You can buy pre-cut, pre-washed veggies, or you can chop them yourself.
No matter which option you choose, your vegetables should always be stored in your fridge, ready for munching.
Think about what containers you use and where you place your vegetable snacks so that they are easily accessible.
While prepping your healthy snack time options, place a container of hummus or low-fat ranch near by. Having such dipping options handy will only increase your likelihood to maintain a solid fruit and vegetable diet.
Drink Your Fruits and Veggies
Processed juices are not a good way to increase your fruit intake. They are often high in sugar, low in key nutrients and honestly don’t tastes as good as freshly made juice. Instead, try making juices and smoothies on your own!
We often think of fruit when referring to juices and smoothies, but vegetables can be a healthy and delicious ingredient as well. Find fun ways to combine both fruits and vegetables depending on what’s in season and your desired end result.
You can often purchase vegetable smoothies off the shelf at your neighborhood grocery store, or you can make them on your own.
Also, consider adding some other items to your smoothies. Avocados, almonds, and chia seeds are all a great fit. These foods add some healthy fats and nutrients while enhancing the fruity taste.
Find Your Favorites
With such a wide variety of fruits and veggies out there, it shouldn’t be too hard to find a handful you like. Once you have a couple of favorites, keep buying them.
By understanding your preferences and exploring the foods you like, you’ll be more likely to stick to your diet. There are so many different recipes and ways to prepare each fruit and vegetable.
That said, it would do you good to leave your comfort zone once in a while. After all, experimenting with new options is the easiest way to find a new favorite. It may be that you don’t care for fresh tomatoes, but absolutely love them sautéed or sun-dried! Maybe boiled or steamed broccoli has never been your thing, but baked with a little olive oil, salt and pepper is!
More on a Fruit and Vegetable Diet
Considering all the benefits of a fruit and vegetable diet, it’s a wonder why so many people choose to ignore it. Thankfully, it’s never too late to change your ways and increase your fruit and veggie intake.
Not sure where to get fresh produce in Tacoma, WA? You can always visit one of our three stores. We’ve got a great selection of fruit and vegetables at affordable prices!
Are you spending your hard-earned cash on vegetables, only for them to go bad after buying them? Want to know some easy ways to properly store vegetables so they’ll stay fresh for as long as possible?
In this article, we’re covering how to store your vegetables so you can keep your vegetables fresh (and delicious).
How to Store Vegetables
Have you ever stopped by the farmers market on a whim and left with way too much produce? It happens to the best of us – all of the beautiful fresh fruits and veggies look so good that we fill up our whole bag without knowing exactly how we’ll be cooking all of it!
Or maybe you plan on going away for the weekend before you can finish all the vegetables in your fridge. Well, the good thing is that there are ways to save these vegetables and spare yourself the waste.
When it comes to storing vegetables, each piece of produce is different from the next. Here are some general best practices on how to store vegetables, so you can rest easy knowing you have a few days to prepare them before they go bad.
Store Your Leafy Greens Immediately
If you purchase leafy greens, you should try to consume them within 1-2 days of purchasing them. This will ensure freshness and guarantee that you’re getting as many nutrients out of them as possible.
When storing them, wrap the unwashed leaves in a paper towel. It’s important to absorb any excess moisture on the leaves because that will cause them to rot faster. Once you’ve wrapped them, place them in a plastic bag and put them in your fridge.
Make sure to discard any rotten leaves before storing your greens in the fridge. And try to separate your different varieties of greens into separate bags!
Using the Fridge
It’s important to remember that certain veggies should be stored in a cool, dry place but not in the fridge. Potatoes, onions, and even tomatoes need their own dedicated space in the kitchen. Putting them in the fridge will cause them to lose some flavor. For your other produce, keep anything that’s not fully ripe out on the counter. Once your vegetables are ripe, it’s time to use the fridge or freezer.
Freeze Your Vegetables if You Can’t Eat Them in Time
The first thing you should do to store vegetables is chop the ripened veggies and freeze them for future use. You can freeze a variety of vegetables including bell peppers, broccoli, brussel sprouts, eggplant, mushrooms, and green beans.
Fall is upon us; some seasonal favorites that freeze well are pumpkin and squash.
To store them correctly, you’ll need to blanch the vegetables in hot water before sticking them in the freezer. This will neutralize any bacteria present in the vegetables, and in turn, delay spoilage. This is the step most people forget, and it makes all the difference.
Freezing veggies is a great way to meal prep – especially for soup. You can have all your favorite soup’s ingredients in one bag ready to go for an easy, healthy meal.
Buy & Prep Appropriately
When it comes to freshness, some vegetables last longer than others. Root vegetables like carrots, beets, and turnips will last up to two weeks in the fridge. Sturdier greens like kale and collard greens will also last a lot longer than greens like lettuce.
Beyond buying sturdier vegetables, you need to try to prep and store them the best way possible. For vegetables like carrots and beets, you should remove the tops and greens and store them separately. Keep pod vegetables and zucchini in resealable bags, and refrain from refrigerating vegetables like gourds.
It’s important to remember that the storing process differs by vegetable. Some will always last longer than others no matter how much you try to keep them fresh. If you’re uncertain how long a certain vegetable will last, check out this checklist on vegetable freshness. And as always, if you stop by a local Tacoma Boys or H&L Produce, our team can answer any questions you may have about specific veggies on your shopping list.
Final Thoughts on Vegetable Freshness
It isn’t fun to find out that the vegetables you bought have gone bad before you had a chance to use them. But, if you follow these easy tips, you’ll know how to store vegetables correctly and maximize their freshness. This guide will help you prevent food waste and save money too!
Unsure of what to do with your vegetables? Want some fun and easy recipes to try out? Let us know in the comments!
We’re all guilty of opting for a bag of chips from the office vending machine, when we could have planned ahead with more nutritious snacks like a vegan cookie. While the occasional splurge won’t hurt you too much, we should be wary of how to handle that 3 p.m. urge for calories. Maybe consider some different kinds of vegetable snacks to satisfy your hunger, while keeping your health in mind.
Junk food takes an enormous toll on our bodies, from promoting obesity to increasing blood pressure levels. In fact, 13.5 million children worldwide now have an impaired glucose tolerance, which is a precursor to diabetes.
Our solution to combat cravings is to replace unhealthy snacks with healthy alternatives. Here is a list of delicious vegetable snacks for those who are on the go!
1. Kale Chips
No one ever said you had to do away with your favorite salty treat altogether at all. Kale chips are the perfect replacement for regular potato chips. They are flavorful, easy to make, and have under half the calories of their fried alternatives.
To make your own kale chips, start with some basic prep work. Remove the stem, wash your kale, and preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
Next, tear your kale into roughly 4-inch pieces. Then wash your kale with a colander.
Place the drained and dried kale onto a baking sheet. Drizzle some olive oil over the top. Sprinkle some salt and pepper over the “chips” and bake for 5 minutes. Voila!
2. Hummus Toast
Here’s a spin on a modern brunch classic. Hummus is a vegetarian friendly spread made from chickpeas, olive oil, tahini, garlic and spices. It is a great source of protein, iron and fiber. Fiber tends to expand in your stomach, making you feel full longer.
Making hummus toast is simple. Lather some toast with your favorite hummus. Get your veggie fill by adding in some fun ingredients, like cucumbers, peppers and/or tomatoes. Here are some ideas to get you started!
If hummus isn’t your thing, avocado will certainly do.
3. Stuffed Peppers
These spicy meat-filled snackers aren’t usually associated with being healthy. But they are delicious. You can certainly make your own small tweaks to this classic appetizer and make it more nutritious.
Fill a large peppadew with chopped meat such as bacon or salami along with some parmesan or mozzarella cheese. Alternatively — if you can handle the spice – try stuffing a slice of Coastal cheddar inside a Jalapeno pepper.
Some healthy options might include substituting the bacon or salami with lean, seasoned ground beef. Seasoned rice and/or beans can also make for a healthy alternative filling.
4. Beet Hummus
Beet hummus contains all of the basic ingredients as regular hummus, along with the addition of one large beet.
Roast a large beet then blend it with a food processor. Add in chickpeas, tahini, olive oil, garlic, lemon, paprika, and cumin.
Beets are a great source of fiber, folate and vitamin c. They are also thought to help lower blood pressure and improve athletic performance among other potential benefits.
Get the full recipe here.
5. Veggies and Peanut Butter
What seems like just a way to get kids to eat their green turns out to be a great quick energy snack!
Take your favorite veggie. Dip it or slather it in some peanut butter and you have a delicious, fresh, protein packed snack! Carrots and celery are maybe the most common vegetable used with peanut butter, but nothing is stopping you from experimenting with peppers, cauliflower or even broccoli.
“Ants On a Log” is a a fun treat for kids and adults alike . Simply take some celery stalks, fill the gap with peanut butter, then line the peanut butter with raisins. This is a fun recipe that kids can easily take part in preparing.
6. Cucumbers and Hummus
While we are on the subject of dipping veggies, let’s take a good look at cucumbers and hummus! Cucumbers have a natural, refreshing quality that balances well with the fibrous, protein laden texture of hummus.
Serve this snack with a dollop of hummus on each slice, or as a plate of cucumber slices with a side of hummus. Mix it up with other dipping options like bell peppers, carrots or celery.
7. Cauliflower Pizza Dough
There are so many fun and amazing ways to substitute popular dishes with vegetable variations. More and more people are becoming aware of gluten intolerance which can take away their favorite dishes.
Thankfully there are crafty people out there who are mixing things up a bit to solve this problem. In the process everyone seems to win, as new healthy options are being developed all the time!
Cauliflower pizza dough is one such creation. Pick yours up today at your local Tacoma Boys or H&L Produce.
8. Avocado Everything Toast
While it’s fair to say that avocados are more of a meal than a snack, you know we couldn’t finish the list without at least one avocado recipe. Try this snack option on either a piece of toast or spread out to multiple crackers.
For our snacking purposes we will choose some Wasa light rye flatbread. Rye actually helps you feel full, while the flatbread is a great light alternative to thick slices of toast. Slice and spread your avocado as you see fit. On top of the avocado, sprinkle some homemade Everything But The Bagel Seasoning.
Local Produce for Your Vegetable Snacks
Getting into healthier eating habits doesn’t have to be too difficult. It also doesn’t need to cost you an arm and a leg.
You can find all the produce you need for your vegetable snacks right here at Tacoma Boys! Plus, we also offer a number of things you won’t find at your regular grocery store. Curious as to what we’re talking about?