While I love my organic produce, it can be an added expense for the growing family. In such an economic crunch as we’re in now, you may find yourself feeling guilty for passing the organic stuff by, but there are twelve fruits and vegetables you don’t have to feel bad about buying just because it’s not organic. Avoiding pesticides whenever possible is always best, but when you have to cut back on the grocery bill, here are the top twelve fruits and veggies to reach for:
Sweet Corn (frozen)
Sweet Peas (frozen)
Some of these items have thick skins, therefore keeping the pesticide out of the fruit. But the biggest common factor here is the fact that they all have the lowest pesticide load. Since they tend to be more resistant to pests, fewer chemicals are needed for growth. Why does the sweet corn and sweet peas (frozen) need fewer pesticides? Apparently, the washing and blanching process used to prepare them for freezing eliminates 80 – 90% of the pesticides, according to the U.S. based National Food Processors Association.
Keep this list handy; another good money saving tip to help you lower your grocery bill while keeping the family healthy during the economic crunch.
I’m all about eating – all day, all the time. I can’t stop myself. This used to be a problem, and it seemed I was always hungry, rooting around for something. I’d either eat it and feel guilty or set it aside and feel denied. And hungry. But I’ve learned through the years the best ways to fill myself up without tipping the scales. During the holidays, this can get pretty tricky for most of us. I certainly don’t want to go without my mom’s fudge, and believe me, I won’t. It’s all in the way we go about it. Here’s what my family does; try it out this year and see what you think. You’ll all be feeling better for it. After all, there’s nothing worse than a house full of kids on a sugar buzz.
See that picture of all the fruit? That’s my kitchen counter. It’s not just my kitchen counter during the holidays. That’s pretty much how it looks all the time. Our refrigerator is about the same situation – just envision vegetables. By stocking up like this, keeping fruits and vegetables washed and easily within reach, the family may just surprise you by enjoying something fresh in between all the sticky stuff. Also, everything’s now ready to throw in the blender at a moment’s notice for a fantastic smoothie break.
Another trick: tell the kids they can eat as much of the fresh fruits and vegetables as they want without asking you first (if they’re old enough to handle this, of course.) I remember being a kid and getting carte blanche on a large bag of apples in the garage. Believe me, having that freedom to dig in whenever I felt like it, I did! And there wasn’t much room for junk food at someone else’s house after gorging on a couple of big apples.
Give yourself the same rights. Make sure there are lots of veggies cut up and arranged attractively on a plate, and keep replenishing it before you run out. It may have tough competition sitting right next to Aunt Ruth’s chocolate covered rum balls, but if you at lease munch on a couple of celery sticks and a tangerine first, you’ll be less likely to empty the rum ball plate. (And we’ve all seen what happens when you hit the rum balls too hard. Nighty-night!)
Christmas and New Year’s isn’t about denial, but it’s not about over-indulging either. By keeping the goods before the goodies, you may just find you’ll feel better this year than ever before! And Aunt Ruth will appreciate having a few rum balls left over. She could use the good night’s sleep.
You read right – this is a raw soup recipe. Bigger surprise? It’s good–100% edible, I promise! I’m giving you the soup base and then a few ideas of what you can add to it. The base is pureed in a food processor or good blender, and then if you like, you can grate a few vegetables to add crunch. It would be fun to experiment with. I’d suggest involving the older kids, just like with the green smoothies. Have them help you to find healthy (no need to tell them that part) vegetables in the fridge or at the store that can be included into the final creation!
Living Soup Recipe
Puree together: 2 avocados, 2 small or one large cucumber (deseeded), 2 cups vegetable broth, 3 cloves garlic, a little cilantro and parsley, 1 chopped zucchini. You can also add a little jalapeno if your kids like some kick to their food! Sea salt is also optional. (I added some to mine, but if you’re strictly vegetarian or vegan, salt is more dangerous as it increases your blood pressure much more than in meat eaters.)
That’s the soup base. After you puree it, you can add things like grated carrot, celery, finely chopped radish, chopped green onion, and more. I also add 1 or 2 Tbs. lemon juice which gives a nice flavor and keeps the avocado from darkening. Use your imagination and have fun with it!
Once you’ve concocted your Living Soup, heat only what you’ll eat to about 100 degrees, no higher. Don’t nuke it – I know it’s tempting, but that will kill most of what’s alive, and living ingredients are what’s so great about this soup. Store the rest in the fridge. I don’t keep mine past the second day, just to make sure it’s fresh. I really liked this soup cold too, and it will be a refreshing addition to your table this summer if served cool.
If you’ve cut back on meat consumption in your home, or if you’re a vegetarian family, you may be wondering whether or not your children are getting enough protein. Here’s the good news: Protein is in all whole food, not just meat and dairy. That’s right, your salad and the fruit bowl are both full of healthy vegetable protein.
Not only are veggies, fruits, nuts, and legumes full of protein, they also contain healthy micronutrients, something not found in animal products but very much needed in the human diet for optimal health. For instance, did you know peas, beans, and green vegetables contain even more protein per calorie than meat? Put that in your salad and chew on it!
Here are some healthy sources of protein for you and your family:
Almonds (3 oz.) 10 grams protein
Broccoli (2 cups) 10 grams protein
Brown Rice (1 cup) 5 grams protein
Lentils (1 cup) 18 grams protein
Peas (1 cup) 9 grams protein
Tofu (4 oz.) 11 grams protein
Every now and then my husband finds himself in the kitchen with an idea and some slightly funky ingredients. Usually the ideas come out great. (I don’t really like anchovies on my pasta, but otherwise I welcome his experiments.) He made a really great salad twice now, so I just had to share it with all of you. I’m not putting ingredient amounts down. That always seems a little silly for a tossed salad. Toss in however much you like, that’s my rule!
Oh, and with the cabbage, it softens it up a bit more if after you rinse it, you sprinkle a little sea salt on there and scrunch it well with your hands. You know, like you did with your hair back in the ’80s. If you’re that old, which I am.
Finely cut savoy cabbage
Grape tomatoes, cut in half to let all the flavors meld (important says man-cook)
A little chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Freshly ground pepper
And voila, you have a really healthy cabbage salad. The nice thing about savoy is that it’s not too tough, so even my 21-month-old with only a couple molars to his credit can mash on it pretty easily. (In fact, he loves the salad too but manages to spit out just the parsley. It’s really something to see, if you’re not in charge of after-dinner cleanup.)