One way to make fruits and vegetables more convenient is to buy them pre-cut and packaged or to cut them up yourself soon after you bring them home. However, cutting, slicing, chopping or peeling fruits and vegetables reduces some of their nutritional value. Learn what you can do to get the most from your produce.
For fruits and vegetables with edible skins or rinds, it’s best to eat them intact so you get the nutrients and fiber contained the rind. Potatoes, carrots, and cucumbers, for example, can be simply rinsed thoroughly and used as they are.
Buying the Best Pre-Cut Produce
Time is an important factor in nutrient loss. Look at the dates on the packaging and buy the freshest produce, especially if they are pre-cut. You should only buy pre-cut produce that has been kept refrigerated, as low temperatures also reduce nutrient loss.
Keep the time limits in mind when stocking up at the market or the warehouse store. They are great for grab-and-go for a snack or making a meal soon, but not the best for long-term storage.
Storing Fruits and Vegetables to Retain the Most Nutritional Value
The best way to store fruits and vegetables is to leave them unwashed with the skin or rinds intact until the day you plan to eat them. You don’t have to wait until the last moment to cut your produce, but be sure you keep them stored in air-tight containers in your refrigerator once you have you cut them. It’s also best if you can leave them in large chunks. Less surface area means less oxygen exposure and more vitamin retention.
Convenience May Be a Nutrition Win
It can be tedious to have to wash and chop your fresh fruits and vegetables when you’re busy with other things. You may find yourself with a crisper drawer full of “aspirational vegetables” you meant to use, but you couldn’t face the work (however minor) that was needed. The small difference in nutrients is completely lost if you don’t eat the produce because it wasn’t convenient.