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Happy New Year and Happy Lunar New Year!

Celebrate 2023 with Melissa’s and the trendiest produce around! Social Media plays a huge part in what becomes trend. Amateur “chefs” demonstrate how to prepare their favorite foods and share them on their favorite social media platforms. The brands they choose are sought after by followers worldwide. Melissa’s has been the recipient of many of these trends; the latest being our DYPs®.

Every year, we discover new and better ways to become or stay healthy. Plant-based eating is still trending since the pandemic, and consumers everywhere are cooking more and more at home. Consumers are choosing plant-based foods over meat and chicken; imitation animal proteins are one of the most popular foods, even making their way into fast-food restaurants!

Ready-made foods in local supermarkets are growing in popularity. Convenience is the priority, but it is becoming more mainstream than in the past: ready-made, healthier foods and more and more prepared food delivery services are available, making it mindless! You can also meal prep, which requires a bit more planning.
Image of Six Bean Medley
Many Americans are still working from home because of the pandemic, so meal prep is a great way to help the whole family stay on track with their health. Start by making a list of the foods you want to eat, then figure out how much you will need for each meal you plan to prepare. Generally, planning for lunch and dinner in the same prep session will save time and money. There are several plant-based proteins available at retail, so if you’re planning to go plant-based, try one of these or buy a versatile protein, such as Melissa’s steamed lentils, six bean medley, etc., or lean chicken, which you can prepare in more than one way. Then, if you buy two or three of your favorite vegetables and add a piece of fresh fruit or a grain, you have a filling, great meal.

After you prepare each ingredient, divide them between your containers, seal and label. You are all set!
Image of Jalapeno Peppers in Escabeche
Melissa’s also offers simple, healthy, and convenient products to help you start your new year on the right foot. Not just produce, but produce enhancers, too. We have spice grinders, microwavable items, ready-to-eat items, salad items, and our usual delicious fresh fruits and vegetables. One of our newest items is our escabeche; this is a jalapeno relish, perfect as a topping with sides, hotdogs, chips— you name it, you can add it!

The New Year is the time for resolutions and most of us vow to eat healthier and start exercising. Many of us have been fortunate to work from home during COVID-19, allowing us to add more exercise to our daily routine. Exercise is one of the most popular New Year’s resolutions, along with starting a diet or losing weight. Instead of thinking about a diet, think about a new way of life; this is where meal prep can help. Try to eat more whole foods, plant-based foods, whole grains and more fresh fruit and vegetables that will satisfy your taste buds and help shed some unwanted pounds without much effort. If you can slowly add more and more fresh items to your food intake, you will be pleasantly surprised as well as feel better, too.

Eating healthy to feel good or eating healthy for taste, fresh fruits and vegetables are the way to go. After heading to the local produce market and buying some delicious fruits and veggies, make sure you don’t just stick a whole melon in the fridge, but you actually take the time to wash, slice and put it in an easy-to-get-to container for snacking. When the kids come home from school or play, they can grab a healthy snack that is naturally delicious instead of going for bakery sweets that are high in processed sugars. Set out a plate with carrots and low-fat ranch dip. You will feel so good when it disappears!

Here are some suggestions to make achieving your “new way of life” simple and delicious…
Image of Clean Snax®
Eat five to ten fresh fruits and vegetables every day. Studies prove that you will feel better and stay healthier when you eat fresh fruits and vegetables. Take fruits and vegetables along as a snack instead of "junk food." It's easy, and you'll notice a difference. Melissa's makes it easy with so many items to choose from. Our new Clean Snax® are a great on-the-go snack item as well as dried fruit, fresh blood oranges or Veggie Sweet Mini Peppers! Try them and you will see how easy it can be.

Eat more whole foods and unprocessed foods. For example, make your own chicken soup instead of buying store-bought. This way, you can control the salt, fat, and other additives.
Image of Organic Tofu
Add plant-based foods to your diet. Several new companies are producing plant-based meat at your local supermarket, so you have a choice! Also, tofu is another great substitute for meat. Add it to sauces, stir-fries, soups, or make delicious drinks. Tofu can help reduce cholesterol, and it’s high in fiber. Melissa's also has many soy products: Soyrizo, Soy Taco, organic and conventional tofu and more. Check out our Product Catalog section at melissas.com for all the details.
Image of Organic Peeled & Steamed Baby Beets
Try our line of ready-to-eat steamed vegetables. Use the beans in soups or stews, the beets and artichokes in salads and dips, and butternut squash in side dishes or entrées.
Image of Soy Ground®
Substitute meat alternatives for your hot dogs, bacon, ground round, lunchmeat, and more. (Including the plant-based meat mentioned above!) You'll be pleasantly surprised at the flavor and fat reduction. Our Soy Ground® is so delicious!

Drink eight glasses of water daily. Try drinking a glass of water before a meal and you will get full faster... and possibly take off a couple of pounds without even trying! Keep a water bottle with you so that when you get the urge to snack, take a drink! There are so many delicious flavored waters out there, so it will make it even easier! (Just make sure you get the ones that are not carbonated or full of sugar!)

Walk around the block once or twice a day. This is an excellent habit to get into. You will be surprised at how much better you will feel.

Try starting off with small changes and it will eventually become easier. Happy 2023!

GUNG HAY FAT CHOY!!!
Lunar New Year begins January 22 and the festival continues through February 5 about 15 days later. 2023 is the Year of the Rabbit; if you were born in the Year of the Rabbit, you are said to be quiet, kind, patient and responsible.

Depending on the country, there are traditional celebrations and festivities for Lunar New Year which include:

Plants and Flowers
Every traditional Chinese household should also have blooming plants to symbolize rebirth and new growth. Flowers are believed to be symbolic of wealth and high positions in one’s career. Lucky is the home with a plant that blooms on New Year’s Day, for that foretells a year of prosperity. In more elaborate settings, plum blossoms just starting to bloom are arranged with bamboo and pine sprigs, the grouping symbolizing friends. The plum blossom also signifies reliability and perseverance; the bamboo is known for its compatibility, utility and flexible stems for furniture and other articles; the evergreen pine evokes longevity and steadiness. Other highly prized flowers are the pussy willow, azalea, peony and water lily or narcissus.

The Chinese firmly believe that without flowers, there would be no formation of any fruits. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance to have flowers and floral decorations. They are the emblems of a reawakening of nature; they are also intimately connected with superstition and the wish for happiness during the ensuing year.

Oranges and Tangerines
Etiquette dictates that you must bring a bag of oranges and tangerines and enclose a lai see when visiting family or friends any time during the two-week long Chinese New Year celebration. Tangerines with leaves intact assure that one’s relationship with the other remains secure. For newlyweds, this represents the branching of the couple into a family with many children. Oranges and tangerines are symbols of abundant happiness.

Candy Tray
The candy tray arranged in a circle or octagon is called "The Tray of Togetherness" and has a dazzling array of candy to sweeten the New Year. After taking several pieces of candy from the tray, adults place a red envelope (lai see) on the center compartment of the tray. Each item represents some good fortune.

Kumquats symbolize prosperity (gold).
Coconuts symbolize togetherness.
Peanuts symbolize long life.
Longans symbolize many good sons.
Buddha's Hand - given as gifts to represent good luck and fortune for the year.
Mandarin Oranges represent wealth.
Chinese Broccoli (Gai Lan) encourages youth and wealth.
Lettuce also symbolizes wealth.
Mushrooms represent coins signifying riches and prosperity.
Green Onions symbolize brilliance and intelligence.
Won Tons are served to guests as a blessing for good fortune.
Asian Noodles are served to represent long life… the longer the noodle, the longer the life.

Anyone can participate in Chinese New Year festivities. Be sure to celebrate with these traditional fresh fruits and vegetables, available from Melissa’s.
Next article Happy Holidays!