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7 Tricks to Get More For Your Produce Buck

Written on May 31, 2012 at 9:22 am , by

Use 'em or lose 'em! Toss extras on oatmeal, Greek yogurt or low-fat ice cream. (Photo by Bob Stefko)

Earlier this month, new research was released that showed it really isn’t more expensive to eat according to USDA guidelines than to maintain a steady diet of junk food. Still, one gripe that many have about fresh, nutritious food is how quickly it can go bad (especially compared to that boxed pastry on grocery store shelves). So we asked Coupons.com savings expert Jeanette Pavini to fill us in about the best ways to save dough while shopping in the produce aisle.

  1. Keep onions, potatoes and garlic out of the refrigerator. Place them in a cool, dark and dry spot. And to try Pavini’s top trick, grab an extra pair of nylon stockings next time you’re at the drugstore. She swears that onions last longer if you store them in the legs of stockings!
  2. Store apples in a separate crisper. Since the fruit emits ethylene which can increase the ripening speed of other produce in your fridge, keep them in the bag you carried them to the register in and pop them in a bin solo.
  3. Ripen in a paper bag. Your supermarket may have some foods on special if they’re not quite ripe. Stock up and save: Buy underripe pears, peaches and nectarines and get them ready to eat by putting them in a brown paper bag (at room temperature).
  4. Prep greens for easy eating. Wash leafy greens and herbs under cold water, drain in a colander and store in the refrigerator in a plastic bag with a few paper towels. They’ll be more appealing to add to a meal when they’re pre-washed, and the early cleaning of these items doesn’t increase their spoilage speed.
  5. Purchase multi-pound bags. Those five-pound sacks of oranges, apples, potatoes, etc. must weigh at least five pounds, so many often have an extra quarter- or half-pound for free (since they’re not going to cut an item in half to exactly meet the limit).
  6. Buy frozen. If the ingredients list just produce, the bagged, frozen version generally tastes comparable to fresh after cooking. Plus, you’re much more likely to find a coupon for an item on ice.
  7. Don’t be tricked by buy one, get one deals. Strawberries on sale this season? Only buy two boxes if you’re sure you can make it through them in a couple days (they spoil quickly). If you did get lured in to the savings, pop extras in the freezer for smoothies and extend the life of fresh ones by skipping the rinse cycle until you’re ready to snack.

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Fit Blogger We Love: The Lean Green Bean

Written on May 24, 2012 at 3:13 pm , by

When she's not creating new recipes, Lindsay loves to head outdoors.

Lindsay from The Lean Green Bean knows a thing or two about good food (just look at her substantial recipe database!). And as you might guess by the name of her blog, many of those dishes are health-conscious—Lindsay is studying to become a registered dietitian. We caught up with creative and fit foodie to learn more about what makes her smile and how she satisfies her sweet tooth.

My favorite way to work out: At home! I love putting together Tabata and circuit workouts that get my heart pumping but don’t require a lot of equipment and never take more than 20 to 30 minutes.

5 things I can’t live without: My family and friends, my iPhone, fresh fruits and vegetables, my contacts or glasses and a water bottle.

I’m happiest when I’m… Spending time outside with my husband!

My favorite fit snack: Plain Chobani Greek yogurt with fresh fruit, almonds and chia seeds.

My fitness mantra: “Do something today that your future self will thank you for”

To try out one of Lindsay’s go-to vegetarian dinners, click below.

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Fit Blogger We Love: Snack Girl

Written on February 9, 2012 at 3:19 pm , by

Lisa discovers nutritious packaged snacks and develops her own healthy recipes.

Whether you’re looking to discuss the latest nutrition-related news, find the latest supermarket snacks that won’t eat up your daily calorie budget or need a family-friendly recipe, Lisa from Snack Girl has you covered. She’s not afraid to cover the good, bad and ugly in the food world and shares plenty of smart snacking advice (we love her recent round-up of chocolate choices with Valentine’s Day coming up)! Keep reading to learn more about Lisa’s fitness goals and what she’s snacking on now.

My favorite way to work out: I like fitness DVDs because I am a mother of two small children and I’m always pressed for time. My favorites include Jillian Michaels DVDs and the New York City Ballet Workout. I have about seven different discs and I do just 15 to 20 minutes of one of them per day. Someday, I will get my gym membership back and do my favorite exercise, which is swimming.

On my fit life list: I want to become a better cross country skier. We have trails behind our house and I am always falling over. I would love to hike parts of the Appalachian trail and someday climb up to Machu Picchu.

I’m happiest when I’m: Reading my children a story at the end of the day. It is such a sweet time and I get to admire them at their quietest.

My biggest indulgence: Sitting in front of my fireplace (we have a wood stove) and knitting. If I get to sit there for 15 minutes without interruption, it is SO luxurious. Of course, the dishes and laundry are staring at me but I ignore them to have this precious moment of peace.

My fave fit snack: Since it is winter, I am really into root vegetables. I recently discovered parsnips and I love them. This recipe is super easy to make and tastes delicious.

Take advantage of seasonal produce for this roasted parsnips side.

Honey Mustard Parsnips

Serves 6

  • 2 pounds parsnips
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 4 teaspoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon high-quality mustard
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F and place rack in the upper third. Scrub parsnips in cold water. Do not peel. Cut into 1-inch chunks and place parsnips on rimmed baking sheet.
  2. Mix together vinegar, honey, and olive oil in a small bowl. Pour over parsnips and mix with the liquid to coat. Add salt and pepper.
  3. Roast until tender, about 15 minutes. Put in a bowl, and toss with mustard. Taste and adjust seasonings. Enjoy!

Nutrition information per serving: 157 calories, 3.2 g fat, 31.8 g carbohydrates, 2.3 g protein, 7.7 g fiber, 100 mg sodium, 4 Weight Watchers PointsPlus

A Beginner’s Guide to Fruit and Vegetable Gardening

Written on May 12, 2011 at 9:15 am , by

Photo courtesy of SparkPeople

Photo courtesy of SparkPeople

People take an interest in gardening for a variety of reasons—higher quality produce, exercise in the great outdoors, or saving money. Whether you hope to discover your green thumb or save a little green, growing your own fruits and vegetables can be an advantageous pastime. Here’s the quick process to get started!

Step #1: Gather Your Gear
You should gather several gardening tools before you get your nails dirty. I cannot stress enough the importance of quality tools. Speaking from experience, it is worth the investment to buy high-quality items, as broken or insufficient tools are not only frustrating but cost you more money and time in the long run. Proper tools provide more comfort and efficiency, which means less work for you!

Step #2: Choose Where Your Garden Will Grow
There are three common types of gardens, all of which have their own pros and cons: traditional (in-ground), container, and raised beds. Once you’ve picked out the sunny spot where your garden will reside, it’s time to decide on one (or a combination) of these three garden types, depending on your needs.

Step #3: Prepare Your Soil
Next, check your soil. Poor-quality soil can seriously hurt a gardener’s best efforts. What characterizes good soil? A high-quality soil for gardening will be…

Continue Reading: A Beginner’s Guide to Fruit and Vegetable Gardening

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The Benefits of Growing Your Own Food

How to Keep Fruits and Veggies Fresh

The Web’s Best Free Weight-Loss Plan