Health/Wellness | Mar 4 2016

How to get the MOST out of your produce

Tips to help you go further with food

In a perfect world, each trip to the grocery store is an adventure, perusing the newest additions, reading labels and sniffing produce for freshness (everyone does that, right?). In the real world, trips may become routine, carts are loaded with the usual suspects and healthy eating becomes — gasp! – boring.

It doesn’t have to be that way! There are simple ways to use “scraps” of these cart staples to revive your meals and get your money’s worth in flavor and nutrition.


Gram for gram, the peels of citrus fruits actually offer the highest doses of vitamin C and dietary fiber, more than double what’s in the juicy segments. Sprinkle lemon, lime, orange and grapefruit zest in Greek yogurt, add to cereal, salad or baked goods, or garnish dishes like chicken and fish. Zest freezes well, too.

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The flavor of broccoli stems is less overpowering that their florets. Just thinly slice stems and add them anywhere you need crunch or texture, like soup, slaw or even stir fry. If you are lucky enough to find broccoli with leaves attached, remove the leaf’s mid-rib and sauté in a little oil, or oven roast for chips. From stalk to floret to leaves, the leaves offer the highest amount of beta-carotene and phytonutrients.

Fennel fronds

Don’t toss those fluffy fennel fronds. Gently slice the sprigs off the stem and use them in salads, or toss into a pesto for a new flavor. Rub them into meat or mix in with pasta. These tiny fronds add vitamin B5, vitamin B6, niacin, riboflavin and thiamin.

Stock or juice

Most stems, scraps and extra veggie pieces freeze well, so save them for a stock or to add to a green juice. Fruit skins, such as mango and watermelon rind, puree easily into juices, and when blended with their sweet insides, the bitter flavor disappears. Or you can savor the bitterness, and pickle the skins.

Next time you go to the grocery store consider new ways to use those scraps of produce so you can “go further with food.” Savor the new flavors and squeeze out every possible ounce of nutrition they offer.

Oh, and Happy National Nutrition Month! Check out what the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has going on for this special month, too!

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