April 6, 2020 by Amy Kimberlain
Watch Now: Organic Fruits and Veggies
Eating fruits and vegetables is an essential part of a healthy, balanced diet. All types of fruits and vegetables are sources of vitamins, minerals and fiber. What’s more, they’re also low in calories.
Organic produce has picked up in sales and popularity, causing many people to wonder if they should be buying organic. While conventional produce is considered safe to eat, there are some benefits to purchasing organic.
For many people, the major reason to shop organic is to reduce exposure to pesticide residues. Due to strict farming practices, organic produce contains less pesticide residue. Several studies have also found that the phytochemicals (the good stuff that helps fight diseases) in fruits and vegetables is higher in organic produce versus conventional crops. The Environmental Protection Agency has significantly reduced the use of pesticides in all products grown in the U.S., and Tom Vilsack, the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, is committed to helping the organic industry continue to thrive.
Read the Label
Look for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Organic Seal to ensure a produce is organic. The Organic Seal on produce indicates that the use of pesticides on plants, soil and in water treatments, and the use of genetically engineered crops or seeds are closely monitored with regular inspection of facilities affiliated with the USDA National Organic Program.
You can enjoy fresh produce and stay on a budget. Here are some frugal shopping tips:
- Review weekly store advertisements for sales.
- Plan your menus and put together a shopping list based on what fruits and vegetables are currently in season or on sale.
- Look for produce grown locally and in season. These are often priced lower than other items.
- Purchase items in bulk or in larger quantities when doing so makes sense. Consider freezing unused produce for later use.
- Select fresh whole produce, which will be less expensive than buying pre-washed or pre-cut items.
To balance out your food choices, make sure to serve yourself at least 1 cup of vegetables at lunch and dinner. Choose two fruit servings per day, and add them to your meal or snack choices.
For more information, please watch the video.
About Natalie Castro, M.S., R.D., LDN
Natalie Castro-Romero is the Chief Wellness Dietitian for corporate wellness at Baptist Health South Florida. She earned her bachelor’s degree in nutrition and dietetics from Florida International University. She completed her master’s degree in nutrition and exercise science at the State University of New York, University at Buffalo. Ms. Romero is certified in adult weight management and works passionately to improve the health of both adults and children. Her clinical experience includes working with patients suffering from gastrointestinal disorders and critically ill patients in intensive care. In addition, she has conducted research on eating behaviors and pediatric obesity. Her research has been published in several peer-reviewed medical journals.