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Daily Organic Servings

By Mark Mulcahy

I was reading the latest report from the Harvard School of Public Health the other day, and I found the latest results so surprising they were almost hard to believe. If we leave potatoes out of the mix, the average American gets a total of just three servings of fruits and vegetables a day. If you are an old produce guy like me knowing that my customers are only eating 3 servings of fruits and vegetables in a day is a little disconcerting - especially when you consider that a serving for most fresh or cooked vegetables and fruits is 1 cup, which doesn’t seem like much at all. Perhaps we could do a better job of making a serving seems less daunting and easier to accomplish.

When we consider that the latest dietary guidelines call for five to thirteen servings (2½ to 6½ cups) of fruits and vegetables a day, it looks like we have our work cut out for us to help folks to find easy ways to eat more fresh food. Give these suggestions a try and perhaps one will stick!
Image of Organic Carrots
Make fruits and vegetables visible by setting them on the table or countertop. I do this when I’m home and I make better choices every time I do. Cut Carrots or Celery before storing them in the fridge. Make fresh, seasonal produce a part of every meal. Here are a few ideas for breakfast, lunch, dinner, AND dessert!

For breakfast, add Melissa’s Organic Bell Peppers, Broccoli, Spinach, Mushrooms or Tomatoes to your eggs and omelets. Or, add fresh Organic Bananas or Strawberries to cereal. For a real treat, add roasted Nuts and fried Apples to Saturday morning pancakes.
Image of Organic Cherry Tomatoes
For lunch, add Lettuce, Tomato, Onion, Sprouts and Cucumber to sandwiches. Pick up ready-made salads from the produce shelf for quick greens anytime. Try different types of vegetable soup – from Tomato to Split Pea – to find out which ones you like with your favorite sandwich. Always include a couple of Melissa’s Organic Carrots, Cherry Tomatoes, or Celery sticks to your noontime plate. If you are packing a lunch, consider using a Bento box, which has different compartments for each healthy item.

For that afternoon snack time when chips or a chocolate bar may be calling your name, pre-cut veggies or fruit and have them available for easy and frequent snacking. Keep Hummus or other healthy dips around to encourage better choices. Bite size cheese slices are perfect with afternoon Apples or Pears. For protein, a handful of Almonds or Pecans can complement Orange slices, Apples, Bananas, or Berries. And, of course, you can’t go wrong with a smoothie loaded with healthy fruit or veggies.
Image of Organic Corn on the Cob
Add Spinach leaves, Tomatoes, Peppers, Mushrooms and Onions to pizza. Variety can make a difference here too - try veggie lasagna. Add fresh Broccoli, Green Beans, Corn or Peas to a casserole or pasta. Make Thai food and serve the veggies with peanut sauce. Add Lettuce, Tomato, Onion, Sprouts and Cucumber to burgers, wraps, hot dogs and tacos. Make a meal of raw veggies like Organic Baby Carrots, Pepper strips, Broccoli and Celery. Create a centerpiece of topped Bell Peppers filled with Hummus, Salsa, Cocktail Sauce, and Blue Cheese Dip, Peanut Butter, etc. for your next gathering. Mix it up and make it fun!

For dessert, one of my favorites is a baked pear with ice cream. If it's too warm at night to bake, heck, you can even have this for breakfast. Try Melissa’s Organic Apples with Almond Butter or fresh Berries with cream. Homemade Carrot Cake is always a good choice as well - or simply fresh melon slices.

Once you start making even a few small changes you’ll find these new habits will become part of your normal daily routine.
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