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The wheel you are referring to is our Fruits & Veggies Produce Wheel. The Fruits & Veggies Produce Wheel contains selection, storage and nutritional information for 25 of the most popular fruits and veggies! Check out our produce wheel as well as other useful materials in our catalog.
 
Beets: Beets are really a matter of personal preference when it comes to the right size for harvesting. They are ready any time after you see the beets shoulders protruding at the soil line. It usually takes about 2 months after planting before they are fully grown.
 
Eggplant: Pick when the fruit is no more than 3-5" long or 4" in diameter, and before the skin loses its luster. Slightly immature fruits taste best. The fruits should be firm and shiny. Cut rather than pulling from the plant. It usually takes about 2 ½ months after planting before they are fully grown.
 
Without having more specifics, this problem could possibly be blossom end rot. This is when a small water-soaked spot appears near the blossom end of the tomato. As it enlarges, the spot becomes dark brown to black, sunken and leathery (i.e. it rots). This happens when calcium is not readily available to developing tomato. Calcium imbalance can result from fluctuations in soil moisture caused by improper watering or prolonged dry weather. Other causes are high nitrogen levels from fertilizer, or a disruption of the root system. You can prevent blossom end rot by the correct application of nitrogen (from fertilizer), and keeping the plants mulched to maintain moisture. Mulching also helps to control weeds and eliminate the need for cultivation that can damage roots. For more information on all your tomato gardening problems visit Denver County Extension Program. In the meantime check out our Top 10 Ways to Enjoy Tomatoes for those tomatoes you have already grown.
 

A few weeks ago I wrote a blog about how I continue to provide my family with healthy meals during the summer months when the heat and humidity can make me want to avoid the kitchen.  I received a few comments in response, which were all similar–how important it is to make time for family meals.  These comments got me thinking about my own family and how our time spent at dinner is key to both our healthy lifestyle and our connection with each other.

While it might be easier to order take-out or have something delivered, I think we’d all agree it’s not the more nutritious option.  Preparing a meal allows you to control fat and sodium content as well as add more fruits and vegetables to the recipe.  An added benefit is the cost savings of making something yourself in comparison with purchasing something ready-made.

If you make dinnertime a family affair with everyone helping to prepare it, you’ll also find your kids are more likely to eat those healthier options.  Plus, it’s a great way to start healthy habits.  Show your children how to prepare fruits and vegetables or how to use better cooking options (baking, steaming, etc.).

Family meal time is also a great way for everyone in the family to touch base.  My kids have told me that many of their friends never eat dinner with their families and I think that’s sad.  In our house we use this time to find out how our day has gone, if there’s anything new happening or just to reconnect.  I understand how busy life can get and there are certainly evenings where sports practices or work travel keeps us from eating together, but I do make an effort to have family dinner on a regular basis.  Honestly, as the kids get older it’s the one time during the day when we’re all in one place at one time.

So, I suggest we all take the advice from my readers’ comments and try to incorporate some family meal time into our schedules.  I’m including a link to our recipe database to provide you with some healthy meal ideas you can try.  Enjoy!

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If you’re meeting your recommendations for daily fruit and vegetable intake, there’s no need to “detoxify” your body through juice fasting, as you’re already doing this on a regular basis. By practicing healthy eating habits as well as relying on the natural abilities of your kidneys and liver, your body can efficiently remove all these toxins. Your body needs a balanced diet including fruits, vegetables, protein sources (nuts, meats, beans), and milk products to maintain and function properly and provide your body with all of the essential nutrients. Therefore, you should not eliminate one of these food groups. Visit MyPlate to set up a healthy eating plan specific to your needs and sign up for our weekly Healthy Menu Ideas!
 
Cheese and all dairy products are good sources of calcium, vitamin D, magnesium, and phosphorous. Most people are recommended to get 3 cups of milk and milk products each day to promote healthy bones and teeth! Cheese is often looked at as “the enemy” because it is high in cholesterol, fat, and saturated fat. Choose low-fat and fat-free dairy products and with anything, consume it in moderation! Remember that while dairy products are good sources of calcium, so are some vegetables! See our Best of: Calcium page to see what vegetables you can add to your plate to make sure you are meeting your calcium recommendation! Sign up for our weekly Healthy Menu Ideas to help you eat a balanced diet full of fruits and veggies!
 
All fruits are an excellent choice for a snack! Fruits are a great choice for a snack later at night because they are low in calories and fat, plus they offer a healthier alternative to satisfy your late night sweet tooth! The most import thing to remember with any snack is moderation. Make sure that you are not consuming more calories for the entire day than you are expending. See our 100 Calorie Comparison Chart too see the abundance of fruits and vegetables you can eat for only 100 calories! Also try our Top 10 Fruit Snacks!
 
I am not sure of your question, but our Fruit & Vegetable Database has selection, storage, and nutrition information on over 150 varieties of fruits and vegetables! We add 5 new fruits and vegetables each month—read about Barbados Cherries and Loquats, they were just added!
 

Have you ever come back from vacation feeling sluggish?  Or how about finding your clothes are a bit tighter than before you went away?  I have and I chalk it up to overindulging on foods I don’t normally consume.

Let’s face it–vacations are for letting loose, enjoying yourself and having fun.  Unfortunately, depending on your destination, they can also mean diet and nutrition danger zones.  Ever take a cruise where there is food everywhere, all the time??  And I’m not talking about the low calorie, high fiber, nutritious variety either.  If you’re not careful you might end up coming ashore carrying an extra 5 or so pounds by the end of your voyage.  We all need to get away so I certainly don’t advocate avoiding the places we like to go or doing the things we like to do.  Instead, I’ll share my own strategies on how to enjoy your time away and still maintain a healthy diet.

First of all, I tell myself ahead of time that I will allow myself to indulge, but within reason.  Moderation is key!  If I’m at the beach I will get those greasy (but delicious!) boardwalk French fries, but I only do it once during my stay.  Same thing goes for desserts like ice cream.  Enjoy, but don’t make it an every day thing.  If you’re going someplace where all your meals will be ordered from a restaurant, look for healthy options.  Big salads, fresh fruit and lean protein are your best bets.  Choose grilled, baked or broiled cooking methods over fried or "sauteed."  Check out all our tips on eating out to help you make the best selections.

Another way to keep feeling good while away is to stay active.  Relaxing is great, but also make it a point to get up and do something.  If you’re at the beach why not take a walk and look for seashells or go swimming?  Snorkeling is a great choice if you’re vacationing on one of the islands.  At the lake or in the mountains you can go hiking or canoeing–all you have to do is modify the activity to your destination.  I personally take advantage of hotels that have gyms.  I’ll typically get up early, go to the gym and get in an hour workout before breakfast.

One last piece of advice–keep the alcohol in check as well.  Not only are those fruity, tropical drinks packed with empty calories, they’re also deceiving.  One too many and you’ll spend the following day of your vacation nursing a hangover.  Not fun!!

So enjoy your time away this summer, but do it wisely.  You’ll find when you return home you won’t feel like you need a vacation to recuperate from your vacation.

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Out of four different types of kumquats, Nagami and Meiwa are the most common type grown in the United States. The other two varieties are called Hong Kong Wild and Marumi. Kiwifruits can either have a green inside flesh that has a tangy-sweet flavor or have a gold inside flesh that is a little sweeter. Both of them, however, are still sweet. Try our Top 10 Ways to Enjoy Kiwis!
 
The Expert: Dr. Elizabeth Pivonka, a mother of two and a registered dietitian, shares years of experience in getting people to eat more fruits and veggies.
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