How to Eat More Fruits & Veggies Without Going Broke.


 Grocery prices have risen tremendously in recent years.  I don't know about you but the spike in prices has influenced my food buying decisions. Pre-inflation, I would load my cart with lots of fruits and veggies without caring about if I would even eat all of it before spoilage.  

After things changed, instead of reaching for organic produce, I pivoted towards low-cost staples like rice and potatoes.  Listen, I love rice....but giving up foods filled with micronutrients for rice isn't the best move.  This year I've made the decision to return to healthier eating and I think I've found the strategy for how to do it. 

I know for a fact that I'm not consuming enough fruits and veggies so I've devised a plan on how to boost my intake without breaking the bank.  The plan is simple, rather than increasing the amount of fresh fruits and veggies I buy, I'm going frozen. 

In the past, I rarely bought any frozen produce with the exception of the occasional bag of frozen broccoli or green beans.  But after learning a bit more about the benefits of eating frozen, I'm ready to convert.  

I held this misconception that buying fresh produce was superior to frozen.  Now I'm learning that I may have been mistaken.  In reality, opting for frozen options might actually be the more nutritious choice.  They've actually done studies on the nutritional content of frozen versus fresh produce and, oftentimes, frozen comes out on top. Especially when compared to fresh fruits and veggies that are stored in the fridge.  We all know how quickly freshly bought produce starts to decline in quality.  That's because of how rapidly it loses its nutritional content.  

Some frozen fruits and veggies are flash frozen which preserves its freshness and locks in most of the nutritional value.  Using frozen blueberries in your smoothie might be a better option than buying fresh.  Especially if you're not going to use the berries right away.  

In 2020, I decided to start a small home garden.  Growing fresh fruits and veggies at home made me realize how different store-bought produce tastes.  My homegrown produce had an enhanced flavor because it was allowed to ripen fully and was consumed almost immediately.  Unfortunately, "fresh" store-bought produce isn't afforded the same luxury.  A lot happens between the time a fruit/veggie is picked to when you finally eat it.  Meanwhile, the precious nutritional content is steadily declining. 

This doesn't mean that I'll be giving fresh produce altogether.  But I certainly will purchase less at once, especially if I know I won't be consuming all of it within the week.   Storing fruits and veggies in the fridge for any longer is too costly when you think about the premium price to purchase coupled with the loss of precious vitamins and minerals.

  I certainly see myself visiting more farmer's markets this year as well.  My mom grows salad greens and I noticed that her salad leaves lasted much longer in the fridge than their store-bought counterparts.  Perhaps the purchase from the farmer's market will rival the nutrient density of growing it in my own backyard. 

Either way, I can see myself saving money, in the long run, because buying frozen helps to really reduce potential waste.  Even if I do purchase from the store, I'm buying less at a time and vow to consume what I do buy as quickly as possible....which will also lead to less waste over time. 

 It's a win-win scenario.   

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