These days most of our food travels so far, that by the time it gets to us, much of its nutrient content has been depleted. We are so short of time that often buying pre chopped food or meal prepping ourselves is our only option. Pesticides and other harmful toxins used in the growing or harvesting process force us to have to remove the skin where much of the nutrition in most fruits and vegetables is concentrated. It can paint quite a depressing picture but here are some ways to get the most from your fruit and vegetables.
- Buy local produce that has had the shortest time from picking to selling! The less time it has been out on its own in the big wide world before it gets to you, the more nutrients it will have held on to.
- Buy seasonal. This can be difficult especially when you have a craving for something that is definitely not in season. That’s ok! It doesn’t mean everything you eat has to be in season. Just be aware of what is and is not in season and try to get more of it into your diet.
- The best way to buy local and seasonal is of course at a farmers market. Whilst this can be more expensive, it is worth its weight in gold. You are buying nutrient dense food and therefore getting twice as much for your money!
- As mentioned earlier, most of the nutrients in fruit and vegetables are concentrated in or just under the skin. So when you peel them to avoid pesticides, you are really just taking away from your micronutrients! Buy organic! Again I know it can be more expensive but if you buy fruits and vegetables with edible skins from organic sources then it will make a huge difference to your nutrient intake!
- Most raw, frozen vegetables and fruits have a very similar nutrient density to fresh veg. If you are strapped for time and often don’t have time to prepare vegetables and fruits then buying frozen is a fantastic substitute!
- There is a huge amount about ‘meal prepping’ at the moment. Everyone seems to be doing it. I always advise where possible that you do not prepare fruits and vegetables days in advance. Their micronutrient content plummets from the minute you start chopping. It’s like driving a new car out of the show room! Its value halves! If you need to prepare in advance then your best option is to do your peeling and chopping right away when you get your nice, fresh, organic vegetables home and THEN freeze in little portions. This keeps them full of all the good stuff and you still get your weeks worth of lunches on the go!
- Consuming raw vegetables is a fantastic way to pack your vitamins and minerals in. I recommend where possible that you find time for salads and raw vegetables at least once a day.
- Never overcook your vegetables. Apart from them being disgusting at that point, there will be nothing left in there to nourish you. Lightly steam or boil in shallow water to retain nutrients and reserve the cooking liquid where possible to add to soups, sauces and gravy. We don’t want to waste anything.
- Finally, many micronutrients are fragile and sensitive little things. Bruised and damaged fruit has had its stores depleted so always buy the most intact produce that you can find.
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