5 Nutrition Tips to Maximize Everyday Produce
Hi, Hilary Cunningham here, Product Director at TeakOrigin. I’ve long been passionate about our food and food systems and hold an MS in Nutrition Science & Policy. At TeakOrigin, our company’s focus is understanding what’s happening inside the food we buy and eat, starting with the produce featured in our TeakOrigin Guide.
We’ve been getting a lot of questions from friends and family for produce and nutrition tips as they rethink what to buy and when. We’ve all seen the photos of grocery stores stripped clean, but preparing for social distancing and self-quarantining doesn’t mean you have to eat just rice and beans. Fresh produce can help you get the nutrients you are looking for. And worry not, as of March 19, the FDA reported no shortages of food or fresh produce, though you may need to give your grocery store some time to restock shelves.
A large part of our mission is sharing information outward, so we put together this list of tips to help you get the most out of what you buy and avoid wasting fresh fruits or veggies.
Bananas not only taste great but based on our analysis they also contain a desirable nutrient called potassium. And if you have a sweet tooth, they can get better over time. As a banana ripens, sucrose breaks down to glucose and fructose, providing a much sweeter taste.
Too ripe for you? Peel and chunk the banana then freeze it. Bananas make a great base for a smoothie. Or, if your freezer is full, let the bananas ripen, fill your house with their sweet smell, then bake them into banana bread! This might be the perfect time to start baking.
Go ahead and grab that carton of strawberries or blueberries, as they can be a great source of nutrients like Vitamin C and antioxidants. Even when berries aren’t scoring 100% on the TeakOrigin Guide, they can be a better source of Vitamin C than other produce items, like apples. And if you’re worried about them spoiling, toss them in the freezer and use them in those banana smoothies!
Eating tomatoes raw, like on a salad or with a bit of mozzarella, can be a great way to get vitamin C. But if they’re starting to turn, toss them in a pan with some oil for a satisfying snack, or turn them into a sauce. Cooking tomatoes helps make a nutrient called lycopene, an antioxidant, more bioavailable. Make too much? Go ahead and freeze it for later.
Eating fresh spinach is a great way to get vitamin C, but your body actually absorbs some nutrients better in certain types of cooked spinach. Levels of nutrients like beta-carotene, an antioxidant, actually rise when your spinach is boiled or microwaved. So spice up those canned soups, or rice and beans, with something green.
Apples are a great fruit to keep in your fridge. Some store better than others though, if you have the choice, reach for hardy varieties, such as Fuji or Red Delicious. Nutrients like vitamin C will decrease over time, even in your fridge, but you’ll always have fiber. That’ll help keep you regular in these times of irregular diets.