Enjoy More Fruit and Vegetables!
Written by: Mirieta Selimovska, MHSc Reviewed by: Lisa Mina, RD
As part of a balanced meal, fruit and vegetables offer us important vitamins and minerals that we need to stay healthy. They can help lower one’s risk of developing some cancers and heart disease, as well as better manage weight. Having them on hand helps to make nutritious meals an easier option.
Here are three tips:
Choose fresh when possible. Fresh produce helps to add a variety in texture to meals.
- Support food producers in your community by buying fresh fruits and vegetables when they are in season. Check out the Availability Guide from Foodland Ontario to learn more about the times of year when certain fresh produce is grown and sold across the province: https://www.ontario.ca/foodland/page/availability-guide
Try frozen fruit and vegetables because they are often picked when they are ripe at the farm. This means that they are likely to offer their best flavour, while also being just as nutritious as fresh. Frozen fruit and vegetables can be kept in the freezer for up to one year, so it’s a good idea to buy a little more when they are on sale.
- Try using frozen fruits and vegetables in a soup or stew, smoothie or dessert recipe.
- Enjoy canned fruit and vegetables as they are easy to use and a budget-friendly option.
- Try canned fruit for snacking or baking.
- Try canned vegetables for handy, last-minute side dishes or additions to a soup or stew.
- When possible, try to choose canned products that are either packed in water instead of syrup, are unsweetened, unseasoned or sodium-reduced.
Here’s a tasty Lentil and Vegetable Stew recipe that comes together quickly!
Lentil and Vegetable Stew
1 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 12-oz packages of mixed frozen vegetables (peas, carrots and corn kernels)
1 15-oz can diced tomatoes
1 15-oz can cooked lentils
4 cups low sodium vegetable broth
¼ cup raw quinoa
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp paprika
½ cup canned pumpkin purée
salt and black pepper to taste
Pour the olive oil to the base of a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until it starts to brown. Add the garlic and stir for another few minutes. Stir in the frozen vegetables, diced tomatoes, lentils and broth. Cook over medium heat until it comes to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and add in the quinoa. Continue to stir occasionally until the quinoa cooks (about 12 minutes). Next, add in the dried spices and pumpkin purée. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and continue to cook for another 5-10 minutes. Serve warm, and enjoy!
- Dietitians of Canada. (2017). All About Frozen Fruit. Retrieved May 4, 2020, from https://www.unlockfood.ca/en/Articles/Cooking-Food-Preparation/All-about-frozen-fruit.aspx
- Dietitians of Canada. (2017). All About Frozen Vegetables. Retrieved May 4, 2020, from https://www.unlockfood.ca/en/Articles/Cooking-Food-Preparation/All-about-frozen-vegetables.aspx
- Rolls, B. J., Ello-Martin, J. A., & Tohill, B. C. (2004). What Can Intervention Studies Tell Us about the Relationship between Fruit and Vegetable Consumption and Weight Management? Nutrition Reviews,62(1), 1–17. doi: 10.1111/j.1753-4887.2004.tb00001.x
- Queen’s Printer for Ontario. (2020). Availability Guide. Retrieved May 4, 2020, from https://www.ontario.ca/foodland/page/availability-guide