Vegetables and fruits can fit into any budget! For $10 you can buy 18 portions of vegetables and fruits; 1 cup tomato, 3 cups of green beans, 3 cups of corn, 4 cups of peas, 1 cup of pears and 6 cups of peaches. That’s almost 4 days’ worth of veggies and fruits for one person! Buy fruits and veggies in all their forms – fresh, frozen and canned.
Celebrate the season by purchasing fresh vegetables and fruits when they are in season. They are easy to get, have more flavor and are usually less expensive. Your local farmer’s market is a great source of seasonal produce and they usually start up by June.
Buy frozen and canned year-round, it’s usually picked and packed at its’ peak when its chock full of nutrients. Look for canned or frozen veggies that have not been pre-sauced and say “no salt added”, “low sodium” or “reduced sodium” on the label. Look for fruits canned in juice or light syrup.
Frozen and canned produce is one of the greatest kitchen hacks to save you time in the kitchen; it comes pre-cut and/or pre-cooked! But keep it simple with fresh produce, when you buy these pre-cut, pre-washed, ready to eat and processed foods are convenient, but cost more than when purchased in their basic forms.
The trick to buying all the vegetables and fruits you need to keep your body strong is to make a list before you go to the grocery store. Check the local newspaper, online, and the store ads before you shop. You save money by buying only what you need and getting the best price, leaving more of your food budget for delicious wholesome produce loaded with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and fiber.
Want a side of physical activity with your vegetables and fruits, along with the satisfaction of an amazing accomplishment? Plant your own! Start a garden- in the yard or in a pot on the deck- for fresh, inexpensive, flavorful additions to meals. Herbs, cucumbers, peppers, or tomatoes are good options for beginners. Browse through a local library or online for more information on starting a new garden.
Lastly, plan and cook smart. Prepare and freeze vegetables for soups, stews or other dishes in advance. Add leftover veggies to casseroles or blend them to make soup. Overripe fruit is great for smoothies or baking. There are plenty of ways to make use of all of your veggies and fruits, for more ideas visit www.myplate.org. For more recipes, tips and more also visit www.eatsmartnewyork.org.