There is no denying that plants are the healthiest foods on the planet. According to The Institute of Integrative Nutrition we should consume 3-6+ servings of vegetables per day and 2-4 servings of fruit per day. We should make sure that we eat a rainbow of colours in our fruits and vegetables. Each colour offers our bodies different nutrients and anti-oxidants.
But buying fruits and veggies has gotten more complicated. Is it better to buy organic and what does non-GMO even mean?! Here is a quick guide to choosing the best fruits and veggies for your family.
Organic is the best choice but you may find that it is killing your budget. If you want to trim your grocery bill then check out the “Dirty Dozen” list. These are the fruit and vegetables with the highest level of toxins from pesticides and herbicides. You can stick the buying the Dirty Dozen fruits and vegetables from the organic section and know that you are reducing your toxic load. This list will change every year so to find this year’s list CLICK HERE.
There is also something called the “Clean Fifteen”. These are the fruits and vegetables that contain the least amount of toxins. You do not need to bother buying them organic if you want to save some money. CLICK HERE to get this year’s list.
Another consideration when buying fruits and vegetables is to buy locally farmed food. We can easily do this a the Farmer’s Markets because everything there is local but pay attention at the grocery store. Look at the signs in the produce section. Where is this food coming from?
It is best to avoid food that comes from foreign and distant countries. There are 2 reasons why you should. First of all, this food is travelling a LONG way and therefore the nutritional content of the food will be diminished by the time you eat it. Second, these countries do not have strict enforcement of the toxic load that is being applied to these foods. You do not know what is being sprayed on these fruits and vegetables – BEWARE! Try to stick to North American produce.
When buying fruit and vegetables, consider purchasing from the frozen aisle. Freezing preserves most nutrients and some frozen foods will actually contain more nutrients than fresh. This may be the case in any fresh food that has come from a foreign country and has traveled a long distance. The longer the time from harvesting the food, the lower the nutritional value.
GMO’s — or genetically modified organisms — refer to the plants or animals created through the gene splicing techniques of biotechnology. It is food created by merging DNA from different species. It is best to avoid the GMO foods and opt for non-GMO. Unfortunately our food is not always labelled so we may not know we are eating it. The safety of GMO foods is unproven and there is an increasing amount of research that connects these foods with health concerns and environmental damage.
When shopping, choose local (Canadian or American – for foods that can’t be grown in Canada) produce. Supporting local farmers also supports the local economy and reduces the environmental impact of food transportation.
Happy Eating 🙂