Flavors of the Season: Spring Produce

Fruits and vegetables can be enjoyed all year round. In season fruits and vegetables are usually more affordable and make great additions to meals and snacks. Spring offers a variety of fruits and veggies including apricots, asparagus, broccoli, carrots, celery, collard greens, kiwi, pineapple, spinach, strawberries, etc. Produce has many health benefits but unfortunately most people are not meeting the recommended five servings of fruits and veggies each day.  In fact, research has found that, “just 1 in 10 adults meet the federal fruit or vegetable recommendations.” Not only are fruits and vegetables delicious but having a balanced diet that includes a variety of fruits and vegetables may reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and certain cancers. Reflect on your habits. Where can you add an additional serving of produce? Can you add a piece of fruit as a [...]

Organic vs. Conventional Produce: What is the difference?

A frequent dilemma in the produce aisle: to choose organic or not to choose organic. Perhaps you pick up two apples: one organic and one conventionally grown. Both are round, firm, and red. Both are full of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. So which should you choose? Let’s get the facts straight before heading off to the grocery store. What does “organic” mean? According the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the term “organic” refers to the way farmers grow and handle their crops. They must follow strict guidelines to be labeled with the USDA organic seal. Organic farming practices, established by the USDA, are designed to enhance water and soil quality, reduce overall pollution, and promote sustainability among the farming industry. In organic farming there are practices that are not permitted and are overseen by the USDA. Materials and processes NOT [...]

Grill More Fruits and Veggies

This summer (and July Fourth!) we encourage you to think beyond traditional cookout favorites and make room for more grill-able vegetables and fruits. Not only are they budget-friendly and abundant in the summer (find a farmers’ market near you), but adding perfectly charred produce to your plate tastes great and can benefit your health. Diets based on minimally processed plant foods can lower your risk of heart attack and stroke, help control blood glucose (sugar) levels, prevent weight gain, lower cholesterol, and more! The protection fruits and vegetables provide is in part due to the high amount of fiber and the wide array of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants they contain. You need a total of at least four-and-a-half cups of vegetables and fruits (2 ½ cups vegetables plus 2 cups fruit) daily to see these health benefits. Let grilling—a quick [...]