I am a veggie lover!

Have I always said this statement? No. Have I always relished the veggies in my daily diet? No.

However, I taught myself to appreciate their benefits and take my veggie-eating habit to an awesome healthy level. Finding a special place for the vegetable world is like growing further to live a long life and surround my family with healthy choices.

I grew up without an exuberance for fresh vegetables and fruits. Having fresh cucumbers or tomatoes on the table was a major rarity. In her domestic routine, my mom usually cooked lunch or dinner using common veggies such as onion, garlic, and carrots. We could only dream of having and tasting fresh veggies or fruits at that time. Therefore, my childhood memories help me comprehend the full value of veggies’ benefits and not take them for granted.

One of the largest benefits to eating veggies is adding natural vitamins, minerals, and nutrition to our diets. Here are some of my rules for simply picking the best vegetables to add to our family meals without cutting corners or breaking our grocery budget.

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I do not purchase frozen veggies at the store.

Of course, browsing at the store, it is so easy just grab a frozen bag of prewashed veggies or fruits and pass by the fresh goodies. There is a great selection of inexpensive frozen ingredients to store in the fridge and many of us grabbing this frozen bag do not even realize that having fresh veggies and fruits is beneficially higher. Certainly, the cost of fresh veggies and fruits can break your budget, but you will benefit from healthy varieties more versus convenient, affordable options.

I try to buy a certain quantity of fresh fruits and veggies for instant cooking. Because the nutrient content of fresh veggies and fruits begins to decline after a certain time. If I have some left over and I know I won’t use them right now, I prefer to freeze veggies or fruits for another time.

To me, freezing veggies and fruits at home is different than purchasing them from the store. Because at least I know where these veggies and fruits came from. They have not been treated with chemicals, and I know how long they been frozen for.

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I love purchasing fresh veggies and fruits at the farmers market.

I love farmers markets. It is always fun to stop at them on weekends when we drive from the beach or come back from the city. We live in California and the farmers markets here have more certified markets than anywhere else in the country.

Eventually the sunny days come, and almost every weekend, my boys and I are so excited to drive to a farmers market to buy succulent Valencia oranges and sweet strawberries that have just come from the field. The farmers are very friendly and fun. They even surprise us with freshly squeezed orange juice that tastes so yummy for our tummy.

You can’t compare all these organic fruits and veggies to those that are sold in supermarkets.

If you want to expand your grocery list to include veggies and fresh fruits without breaking the bank, here are my final tips:

  1. Buy seasonal. Produce that’s local and in season can be much cheaper than produce imported into your area. For example, for half of the year I can buy avocados for very cheap because of all of the farms near us.
  2. Don’t be wasteful. You can pretty much use all parts of the fruit or vegetable. For example, broccoli stems could easily be thrown away, but when cooked, they are delicious.
  3. Integrate produce naturally into your food. I do this with my son’s pasta. In addition to normal ingredients like marinara and cheese, I like to sneak in cubes of zucchini or even broccoli.

Thanks, ladies, and good luck in the produce section this weekend!

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