With our busy schedules and lack of time for preparation, one often finds themselves relying on convenience foods such as pre-packaged meals & fast food restaurants. These foods contain higher amounts of sodium and other preservatives to allow for greater shelf stability.
According to leading nutritionists, however, eating boxed, packaged and canned foods has significantly decreased our consumption of fiber, as well as other healthy nutrients like antioxidants, essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals.
To prevent the possibility of nutrient deficiencies, experts today recommend a diet rich in raw fruits and vegetables. The American Dietetic Association is calling on Americans to eat between 25-30 grams of fiber per day, and produce is encouraged as an excellent source.
Since healthy dietary choices are often thrown aside when time for food prep is unavailable, and quality ingredients are difficult to preserve, we’d like to share with you a few easy suggestions for keeping good food from going bad.
- Be Prepared: How many times have you bought the jumbo bag of lettuce, only to find it rotting in the bottom of your fridge? Prepping and chopping things in advance is one of the best ways to make sure you make use of the produce you buy. Set aside time one or two nights a week to cut up your veggies & have them ready to eat in small containers. This can save money too, as buying ready-to-eat baby cut carrots, for example, can be as much as three times the cost of a pound bag of the full size variety.
- Proper Storage Technique: With the summer season here, and temperatures rising, food spoilage due to improper storage is not uncommon. It can help if you keep the very fragile things in the crisper so they don’t wilt as quickly. Air, heat, moisture, cause the most spoilage. A full fridge uses less energy to keep cold. Opening the fridge will also let out cool air, and let in the heat.
- Apply Ice: If you have to carry your food home on a long drive you can ask for a bag of ice at the deli or produce counter where you shop. This can help you tote your things home safely from the grocer. If you are buying a lot of temperature sensitive items, pick those out last, attempting to get in, get out, and get home quick.
- Shop often: Schedule your grocery shopping spread out to several days throughout the week if your schedule allows. By buying small quantities more often, you will use them up, and have less waste.
- Organic Hints: If buying organic, be prepared that things won’t last as long. They are not sprayed with the pest control to keep fungus down, and therefore, though more hardy in nutrients, won’t last as long as the conventional produce which may contain preservatives.
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About the Author: Cassandra Cox is a 10-year veteran of the natural products industry. Having received her credentials as both a Nutritional Consultant and Digestive Care Specialist, she is passionate about nutrition and optimum digestive care.