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Mix and Match to Make the Most of Your Produce Purchases

By Mark Mulcahy

This past year, I’ve been traveling across the US and teaching a new seminar to produce teams and retail shoppers. During these seminar sessions, I've found that there is a definite lack of good, basic produce knowledge in our grocery aisles these days.

In the seminar, I cover history, nutritional benefits, use, storage, growing methods, and lots of fun facts about the organic produce industry - along with plenty of opportunities to taste, pair, and experiment with whatever item we are focusing on that month. While these seminars have been a huge success, there is still a lot for all of us to learn about the produce we buy - so for the next several columns I’m going to focus on interesting facts and easy, valuable tips to make the most of your Melissa’s Organic Produce in 2016.

As the year begins, many of us are once again committing to eat better and eat healthier. If you are one of the folks who have made this resolution, then here are a few tips to get the most nutrition from your Melissa’s produce.

Try these tips:
Image of Organic Mandarin Oranges
The next time you’re preparing an organic spinach salad, toss in or make a dressing using a Melissa’s Mandarin Orange. The citrus fruit won’t just enhance the flavor; its vitamin C will help your body absorb the iron found in leafy green vegetables.
Image of Organic Broccoli
We all know that Melissa’s Organic Broccoli is a good source of fiber, which can help fill you up when you are trying to eat healthy. It's also a great source of beta-carotene, and contains vitamins A, C, and K. To get the most from your Melissa’s organic broccoli, eat it with tomatoes. That’s right - according to food science and human nutrition professor John Erdman at the University of Illinois, tomatoes and broccoli have more powerful cancer-fighting qualities when eaten at the same time than when consumed alone. For the best flavor this time of year, go with a Melissa’s Organic Roma or Grape Tomato.
Image of Organic Avocado
Many people switch over to fat-free products when counting calories - but if you want to get the most from your salad, skip the fat-free dressing and add a good-for-you fat like avocado, Walnuts, roasted walnut oil, or extra-virgin olive oil. Why? The good fat/oil makes several nutrients — the lutein in the green peppers, the capsaicin in the red peppers, the lycopene in the tomatoes, even the limonene in the lemon — more body ready for you. Basically, each of them is more optimally absorbed with a little bit of fat.

Like almonds? Try them with a glass of red wine. The phytochemicals in red wine enhance the additive effects in vitamin E.

You get the idea! If one of these wonderful Melissa’s organic produce items is good, two and perhaps three eaten together can be even better. Now there’s a value you can’t pass up.

Good luck on your resolutions! Enjoy every healthy and delicious bite!
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