A healthy diet starts with healthy food! - Part 5

Of course, we all know that.

Easier said than done though…

Before I committed to a healthy diet I would love eating cookies-and-crème ice cream, lots of Riesling wine, glazed donuts, boxes of Russell’s assorted milk-chocolates and those nice sugar cookies from Stop & Shop, mmmm so yummy.

What was not so yummy was the heartburn I felt when I went to bed, the constant burping and bloating, feeling dazed and numb… Ugh!

And we all know that the key is to make better choices

Oh boy!

But sometimes choosing better can be hard… especially when we’re used to go for the “good stuff” (aka: junk).

According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020, healthy eating:

  • Emphasizes fruit, vegetables, whole grain, and low-fat milk products
  • Includes lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs and nuts
  • Is low in saturated, trans fats, cholesterol, salt and added sugars
  • Stays within your calorie needs
Market stand full of vegetables.A healthy diet is colorful, with lots of texture and no packages!

A good way to go about it is to think about all the food you can eat, instead of thinking in terms of everything you can’t eat

Fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and nuts can be a little expensive and maybe you can start thinking about how to prolong their shelf-life, so you get more bang for your buck.

If a fruit or veggie is truly ‘organic’ it should start going bad within 4-6 days.

Other non-organic produce is kept fresh longer in transit and on the shelf due to chemicals that help keep them fresh.

These treatments are done in the farms or in the distribution facility. At the supermarket they mainly add coatings to make the produce look more attractive (like waxing apples and pears so they look shiny).

Some of these treatments are the addition of chemicals (organic acids, hydrogen peroxide, sulphur dioxide, among others), they also do physical treatments to lower post-harvest loss (such as heat treatments, edible coatings and irradiation) and last but not least gaseous treatments (such as ozonation, 1-methyl propene).

Organic produce generally has a shorter shelf life and are more susceptible to develop bacteria, an oxygen-loving microorganism, that will spoil your produce.

Hopefully, your produce will not be treated in any way until it reaches your home.

After that, you can prolong their shelf life by mechanically removing oxygen from the environment where you store your fruits and veggies. You can do this by storing them in air tight containers, more on that below.

No need for “treatments” on your “organic” produce, just better storage

Fruits and vegetables after harvest are metabolically active and continue to “respire” after being plucked, that is they are still ripening and continuing to breathe. Fruits and veggies take in oxygen and release CO2.

Even though refrigerating them slows this natural process down (that’s the whole point of refrigeration), you can further slowdown this process by cutting out the availability of oxygen.

According to research in the Journal of Food Science Technology, the preservation of your produce against oxidative degradation is essential to improve shelf life and increase food security.

Woman cooking in the kitchen.A little planning and organization goes a long way, it makes your life easier.

By doing so, fruits and veggies are “isolated” from this element that feeds microbial activity

Your goal is to reduce the growth of decay-causing fungi and food borne pathogens by delaying rate of respiration to maintain overall quality and prolong its shelf life.

Vacuum sealing containers are the best addition to your kitchen to conserve your produce for a healthy diet.
Prolong the flavor and freshness of foods and beverages 3-5 times longer than average containers. This will help you:

  • Prevent freezer burn
  • Fruits and veggies stay crisp and fresh
  • Breads don’t get moldy as quickly
  • Keeps cookies and crackers crisp
  • Preserves the freshness of coffee and nuts
  • Prevents rancidity of dried fruits and nuts
Pantry stocked with health foods.Just as you plan your weekly meals and buy accordingly, set-up your fridge for easy access to food.

A healthy diet consists of as many fresh fruit and veggies as possible and lean protein and non-starchy carbs

A healthy diet is a move in the right direction with organic produce, but it can be a little pricey if you exclusively go organic, but well worth the money.

You might want to store those juicy blueberries or crunchy celery in the most effective and versatile containers to keep them fresh for longer, I can help with this.

However, as soon as you shift your diet into one where whole green vegetables and organic fruit are commonplace, you should pay attention to the healthy way to store your food naturally.

Now that you have fresh fruit and whole greens as part of your healthy diet arsenal, let’s dive into how to cook them

Like you, I have little time and disposition to follow long recipes and time-consuming preparations.

A healthy diet needs quick and easy ways to cook so we can stick to it!

Part 6 - Eating tips and cooking tricks

Back to Nourish

Back to Home Page

Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020, health.gov
Journal of Agricultural Science and Food Research, Strategies used to prolong the shelf life of fresh commodities, www.omicsonline.org
Science Direct, Controlled-atmosphere storage, www.sciencedirect.com
U.S. National Library of Medicine, Journal of Food Science Technology, Oxygen absorbers in food preservation, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

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