CLEVELAND – Most of us have heard that we need to eat more fruits and veggies to maintain a healthy diet.
But realistically, it can be difficult to get everyone in the family on board, especially when it comes to trying new things.
According to Julia Zumpano, RD, of Cleveland Clinic, sometimes prepping and cutting too early can dull the flavor of produce and make it less appealing.
“People might wash and cut fruits and vegetables up ahead of time, which makes a lot of sense for convenience, but they may not have the strong flavor or texture when you actually go to eat them,” she said.
To avoid loss of flavor, Zumpano recommends rotating the stock in the refrigerator and using an entire fruit or veggie before moving on to the next one.
For those who are short on time, she said it can be wise to look into the pre-cut options.
While pre-cut items may sacrifice a little freshness, if convenience is key, Zumpano said it’s better to get pre-cut produce than nothing at all.
For parents who are trying to get their children to eat more fruits and veggies, she suggests taking them along to the store to let them pick out the items that they like.
Zumpano said by getting children involved in the whole process, from purchasing produce to the meal prep, they will be more likely to eat them.
Once children are eating the fruits and veggies they’re familiar with, try to introduce new ones.
While shopping at the store, Zumpano said it’s key to take the time to inspect the produce to make sure you’re getting the best looking and tasting items.
“If you’re introducing more fruits and vegetables for yourself or for a family, if you’re serving them when they’re already not favorable, it may change their willingness to want to try them and eat them more frequently,” she said.
For the best tasting produce, Zumpano said you really can’t beat growing your own at home. She recommends starting small with some potted tomato plants and getting the whole family involved in the process.
“It’s so fulfilling to be able to grow your own fruits and vegetables,” she said. “They taste so much better; they’re right there; it’s convenient and you’ve put your hard work into it, so it’s nice to get it something back from it.”