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Good question! According to EPA, food waste is the single largest component of trash. In our own 2012 PBH Research, 35% and 17% say they throw out no fresh fruit and fresh vegetables, respectively. 63% and 83% say they throw out one quarter or less of their fresh fruit and fresh vegetables, respectively. Basically, over 80% throw out at least some fresh fruits or vegetables that they buy. There is much less waste with frozen, canned, dried, or 100% juice products.

 

I am not sure why you would get this warning, but depending on where you are opening these pages (i.e. in an office setting or on a school computer), there might be a restriction. Try opening them on a personal computer and try out our P.A.C.K activity pages!

 

In general, green leafy vegetables and some vegetable oils (soybean, cottonseed, canola, and olive) are major contributors of dietary vitamin K. Search the USDA food composition database or view a list of foods containing a specific nutrient to determine the amount of vitamin K in all foods. As for eating a variety of fruits and vegetables, our Fruit & Veggie Nutrition Database has a list of over 100 fruit and vegetables to try in our 1,000+ healthy recipe database! Try starting with one new fruit or vegetable (as long as they are not high in vitamin K) each week!

 

According to the American Diabetes Association: Exchange Lists for Diabetes, ½ cup of corn, or ½ a cob of corn (5 oz) is equal to one starch exchange. Try our Top 10 Ways to Enjoy Corn ideas!

 

March is National Nutrition Month and this year’s theme is “Get Your Plate in Shape,” which I’m pretty sure is designed to go along with the new dietary guidelines of making half your plate fruits and veggies.  Sadly, if you walk through any cafeteria or restaurant, chances are you’ll see a lot of plates that are in dire need of some help.  The MyPlate guidelines make it easier to do just that and if you consider that ALL forms of fruits and veggies count toward filling half your plate, it’s pretty darn easy!

A mistake many people make is to think that only fresh produce counts when filling half their plates with fruits and veggies.  Not so!  Add canned beans to salads, canned veggies to soups and canned fruits (packed in fruit juice) make a great dessert.  Frozen fruit and vegetables are perfect for quick side dishes.  Frozen spinach is great when thawed and used in casseroles.  Frozen fruit is ideal to throw into your blender for a quick smoothie.  I like dried fruits for snacking or baking.  Plus, raisins are great for cereal or oatmeal.  And, don’t forget the juice–just make certain it’s 100% juice, with no added sugars.

If you make the effort to add all the different forms of fruits and vegetables, you’ll not only be making your plate healthier, you’ll also be adding more flavor and variety.  A recent Insider’s Viewpoint from Jewel-Osco Dietitian, Kim Kirchherr, provides even more info on the different forms as well as a really tasty pasta recipe you’ve got to try!  There’s no better time to get your own plate in shape than National Nutrition Month.  Who knows–you might be surprised at how easy it is!

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Soda offers very little nutritional value. For example for almost the same amount of calories in and 8 oz regular soda, you can drink 8 oz of 100% orange juice and spare 26 grams of added sugar! As a plus, the 8 oz of 100% orange juice provides your body with vitamin C and B1, potassium, and folate! Read more about the benefits of drinking 100% juice and try our Orange Delight Juice recipe!

Think of it this way…when making food choices, get the most ‘bang for your buck!’ Choose foods that offer the highest amounts of nutrients per calorie. See Calorie Comparison Chart

 

Certain fruits produce ethylene, a gas that speeds up the ripening process. To reduce unnecessary spoilage of your produce, do not store ethylene producing fruits and vegetables with those that are sensitive to it. These include:

 

Ethylene Producing Fruits

  • Apple
  • Apricot
  • Asian pear
  • Atemoya
  • Avocado
  • Banana
  • Cantaloupe
  • Cherimoya
  • Crenshaw melon
  • Custard apple
  • Durian
  • Feijoa
  • Fig
  • Guava
  • Honeydew melon
  • Jackfruit
  • Kiwifruit
  • Mamey sapote
  • Mango
  • Mangosteen
  • Nectarine
  • Passion fruit
  • Peach
  • Pear
  • Persian melon
  • Plum
  • Prune
  • Quince
  • Papaya
  • Plantain
  • Rambutan
  • Sapote
  • Soursop
Ethylene Sensitive Vegetables

  • Arugula
  • Asparagus
  • Beans
  • Belgian endive
  • Bok choy
  • Broccoiflower
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Cactus leaves
  • Carrot
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Chard
  • Chayote squash
  • Chicory
  • Chili pepper
  • Chinese cabbage
  • Collards
  • Cucumber
  • Eggplant
  • Endive
  • Escarole
  • Green onion
  • Green tomato
  • Kailon
  • Kale
  • Kiwano
  • Leek
  • Lettuce
  • Longbean
  • Mint
  • Mushrooms
  • Mustard greens
  • Okra
  • Parsnips
  • Potato
  • Snow pea
  • Southern peas
  • Spinach
  • Summer squash
  • Sweet pea
  • Turnip greens
  • Tomatillo
  • Watercress
  • Watermelon

*Information provided by the University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources

If you are using your fresh fruits and vegetables soon after purchase, and storing properly, you do not have to be too concerned with ethylene producing fruits spoiling your fruits and vegetables. Visit our recipe database for over 1,000 recipes to help use your fruits and vegetables in new ways!

 

Our Well-Stocked Pantry list offers a great starting place! Also read our helpful guide to navigating the grocery store. When it comes to healthy eating remember that focus your meals around all forms—fresh, frozen, canned, dried & 100% juice—of fruits and veggies!

 
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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