Food Talk And Fabulous Finds - Looking for more variety in my fruits and veggies

01-13-2011, 02:44 PM
I love routine! I don't find it monotonous at all to eat the same things day after day, in fact it helps my weight loss. However - and maybe it's a result of being cooped up inside for 4 days from this ice storm :) - I've decided I really need to branch out with my fruits and veggies and try some new things. I want to get the widest range of nutrients possible, and avoid getting stuck in a rut.

Currently I aim for 2-3 fruit servings a day, and and least 5 vegetable servings. I count calories and weigh and count everything in my plan.

The fruits I eat now are clementines or tangerines (usually daily), bananas (2-3 times a week), and berries (right now frozen, alternating days with the bananas). I am, unfortunately, allergic to apples, cherries, and peaches. :(

My current vegetable rotation includes: broccoli, green beans, pepper stirfry mix (this is bagged frozen mix of bell peppers and onions), grape tomatoes (I don't like tomatoes much, but like these halved and cooked), LOTS of spinach, mushrooms, the occasional avocado, and celery and carrot sticks in my daily lunch. I also buy bagged broccoli slaw and cabbage cole slaw and eat these on occasion.

A *big* concern for me - I'm single and cooking only for myself. It's much easier and less wasteful for me to get frozen bags of vegetables than to get fresh and throw things away. That really bothers me, from a money and waste point of view. I'm open to buying fresh, of course, but only if it's a small enough portion that I can use it up quickly.

Any ideas or suggestions? Looking at it all written out like that, I feel like I'm getting more variety than I thought, but I still feel like I'm in a rut. I'm hoping for some great ideas from you wise 3FC-ers!

01-13-2011, 02:49 PM
What about the yellow veggies? Butternut squash? Acorn squash? Canned pumpkin?

Instead of the spinach, different greens, like chard, kale, collards, mustard greens, escarole?

Mango or papaya? Pomegranate? Are pears like apples? Portion of pineapple?

And as for roots, rutabaga? Turnip? Parsnip?

01-13-2011, 03:20 PM
I highly suggest artichokes if you can find decent sized ones they made a huge difference for me when I was eating them but all the ones around here are so tiny now that they don't seem worth it to me. Artichoke is proven to increase bile production which in theory leads to more weightloss especially in the stomach region. Beats are also super yummy and they are usually available at most groccery stores and keep very well in the fridge. If you really like brocolli you should try cauliflower since it has a similiar texture but a slightly different taste. Mustard is also very tasty in a salad. Asparagus is also good but if your anything like me you'll buy it and forget to make it right away and it goes bad very quickly. Also I'm suprised you don't eat cucumbers they are light and refreshing and are available everywhere.

As for fruit I suggest pomegranate, pears, plums, pineapples, kiwi.

01-13-2011, 03:28 PM
How about some kale? A lot of people dislike kale for its bitter taste, but I personally love it. Plouts/dinosaur eggs are good. Kiwi is delicious, healthy, easy to eat. I second the butternut squash suggestion--so yummy. There's also cantaloupe, watermelon, cucumber, alfalfa sprouts, mango, and--my favorite--zucchini. Zucchini is great because you can saute it with some chopped almonds and a little olive oil and sprinkle it with some optional feta cheese, and it's soooo good. High in fat, yes, but nonetheless healthy fat.

I can't imagine being allergic to cherries, apples, and peaches :( Three of my favorite things right there.

01-13-2011, 03:57 PM
I see you like cruciferous veggies (broccoli, cabbage). My current favorite cruciform is kohlrabi. Peel it, slice it thin, and eat it raw, either plain or as a substitute for chips with salsa or guac. The edible part of kohlrabi looks like it's a root vegetable, kind of, but it grows above ground and doesn't have that starchy root vegetable thing. However, you don't eat the leaves or flower, and it doesn't go bad as quickly as the other cruciforms. It's in season now, and is pretty cheap at my local market.

1 c. (which is about the yield from a small kohlrabi) has 36 cals: 2.3 g. protein, 0.14 g. fat, 8.4 g. carb of which 4.9 g. is fiber. It's chock-full of potassium -- about twice as much as a cup of broccoli -- and vit C.

Some people cook kohlrabi, but I think that's a waste of a good vegetable.

//b. strong,

01-13-2011, 06:01 PM
You can always have a fall back position with fresh veggies- once they are about to go over the freshness hill just chop them up into a quick soup. The soup can be frozen if need be or just eaten in future- you extend the veg life by at least 5 days. Soup can be as simple as chopped veggies in broth.

01-13-2011, 07:36 PM
I went to the store this afternoon. Because of the snow and ice, the normal selection wasn't there, but I did get some Brussels sprouts, kiwi, and yellow squash (which I like, but for some reason always think of a summer veggie?).

I looked for kohlrabi but couldn't find it with the other leafy greens. I'll look at Trader Joe's and WF the next time I'm there.

saef - I forgot, I do eat canned pumpkin occasionally, especially mixed into oatmeal.

I also fully intended to buy a butternut squash, and then completely forgot. I also forgot paper towels, which were the one thing I absolutely NEEDED to get at the store. :)

Thanks for the suggestions and keep them coming!

01-13-2011, 11:48 PM
One of my favorite veggies that you didn't mention is asparagus. I also like spaghetti squash. For fruits, how about kiwi, plums, pears?

01-14-2011, 10:56 AM
I had a kiwi this morning at breakfast and LOVED it. I've had kiwi before in fruit salads or at parties, but this is the first time I'd ever just eaten a kiwi. :) It was a bit messy - I wasn't really sure of the best way to eat it, so I just cut it in half and dug in with a spoon - but it was delicious.

Asparagus is a summer time favorite, but I don't find it worth it in the winter. Too expensive and usually not very good. I have gotten frozen asparagus before and enjoyed that . . . I need to look for it again.

About pears - I don't know if I've ever eaten a pear before (I was one of the world's pickiest eaters as a child, sorry) and I was a bit overwhelmed at the pear variety yesterday at the store. What's a good kind of pear to try?

01-14-2011, 11:36 AM
I like Anjous & red pears.

I particularly like them when eaten together with a wedge of Laughing Cow cheese or a piece of string cheese or a thin slice of the real stuff, like goat cheese.

Cheese & pears are meant for each other. Also, I like combining fruit & a protein in my snacks.

01-14-2011, 12:23 PM
Have to agree with the asparagus. I love it blanched. Good on it's own or chopped up in salad. Sugar snap peas or snow peas are good in salads or steamed. Yesterday I bought a head of Napa cabbage and chopped it up and added some to my regular salad mix for today's lunch.

Think about some of the old fiance LOVES it when I cut up some radishes and green onions for him to munch on.

Fresh green beans....steamed.

I also LOVE bean sprouts in my salad, but they do go mushy pretty quickly.

P.S. If you'd like to save some $$$ your own peppers and onions and chop them up yourself. I do buy some pre-chopped things (bagged lettuce especially), but always cut my own peppers.

01-14-2011, 12:24 PM
You mentioned frozen berries. Have you ever bought the frozen dark, sweet cherries?? They are not "sweetened" at all and are so good stirred into hot oatmeal. I buy the store brand.

01-14-2011, 06:59 PM
Annie - I'm allergic to cherries (along with apples and peaches). Otherwise I would eat them all the time - so delicious, and I miss them!

saef - I will pick up a pear tomorrow. I usually eat fruit as a dessert, but I like the idea of pairing it with some yummy cheese.

01-14-2011, 07:14 PM
Grapefruit! :) I peel them like an orange, love love red grapefruit, even hubby peels em like an orange & downs one daily!

Also love pears, I buy standard green ones, they may need to ripen for a few days on the counter top if they are hard though, then I cut it in half, take out the seed, stem & put on some almond butter or peanut butter, yummy juicy pears. I also love pineapple chunks in their own juice dole chunks are about a $1 a can and delish!!!

Regarding kiwi if you eat it with a spoon, just cut off the top of it & scoop eat it with a spoon is correct. Otherwise peel it with a potatoe peeler & slice into slices or chunk it

01-14-2011, 07:40 PM
Bok choy, jicama, sweet potatoes ... cranberries, clementines, mango (fresh or frozen), cantaloupe, honeydew or regular watermelon (though always better when they're in season).

Lily In Bloom
01-15-2011, 08:01 PM
Jen- we are in completely the same place! I find myself eating all the same veg you do, over and over. And, also like you, I'm not bored by that at all- it's easy and makes meal planning simple and fairly fool-proof. Still, probably good to start working other things in...

I do want to point out tho, that buying bagged bell peppers is actually cheaper than buying fresh for some people. Right now I can get a huge bag of frozen sliced bell pepper for the price of a single fresh one. When things are out of season, buying frozen is sometimes a much cheaper option. As long as you're getting nothing added, it's a pretty win-win trade imho.

01-15-2011, 08:21 PM
This is going to sound weird but I eat Kiwi's skin and all, like you would an apple. The skin gives it a tart, sweeter taste and it's delicious! The skin also has lots of antioxidents and fiber.

If the "furry" feeling bothers you, wash the kiwi and don't dry it before eating.

01-16-2011, 02:13 AM
My goodness this is certainly a comprehensive list of suggestions! I can barely think of anything that isn't covered already! But I did come up with one: eggplant! I like it sauteed and served with tomato sauce (usually make a light one with plain tomatoes). And how about Brussel sprouts? A love or hate thing, I know, but roasted brussels are delish! And they are available frozen and can be roasted without thawing.

01-17-2011, 03:31 PM
About the green peppers -- personally, I like red peppers & consider them a near staple -- they are one of those veggies whose price fluctuates insanely.

When they're cheap, cut them up in strips, stick then in a baggie that locks tightly, and freeze them.

Same thing as buying them already frozen.

(Because I just picked up red peppers on sale the other day & am planning to freeze most of what I bought for further winter use.)

01-19-2011, 01:29 PM
Actually my problem is I'm trying to eat more fruit. Except that I'm not a fruit person. Fruits I like are grapefruit, kiwi, banana, oranges, apples and that's about it. I love berries of any sort bluberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries. I'm not a fan of any melons, pears, peaches, plums, etc etc as I think it's a texture thing. Is there any way to prepare fruits to make them more palatable?

01-20-2011, 10:45 PM

I hacked it into chunks (I don't have the best knife skills, but it gets the job done) sprayed it with cooking spray, sprinkled with salt and pepper and dried Italian herbs, and roasted everything at 400* for about 40 minutes.

I roasted a swet onion at the same time, and they were absolutely delicious together.

It's possible I'm going to OD on roasted butternut squash over the next few weeks, because I am making that again! :)

01-20-2011, 10:55 PM
Wow, what great ideas . . . I was thinking a spaghetti squash with some of your pepper stirfry and a little spaghetti sauce, a sprinkle of parmesan cheese and a nice salad with a light vinegrette . . . YUM, YUM, YUM . . .

2 salads; have you thought about a fruit smoothie . . . so many combinations you could do and YUMMIE!!!!

01-20-2011, 11:20 PM
I think everyone has covered everything! I'm not sure if anyone has mentioned zucchini though! I pretty much live off of zucchini! In Montreal, it's one of the cheapest, along with green bell peppers and eggplant. I like to use all three in stir fry and any Italian dishes! My family is Italian and my father always used tons of vegetables to make giant pots of sauce on the weekends that would last for weeks frozen or in the fridge. I like doing that so I have fast but healthy dinners any night (sometimes I omit the pasta and JUST eat a little bowl of sauce - it's delicious and the sauce was always my favourite part anyway!).

As for fruits, I just recently started going for grapefruits! They always confused me... as a kid I thought they were just huge oranges. I would definitely try grapefruit, honeydew melon, or cantaloupe.

01-20-2011, 11:22 PM
Also, if you want to make any pasta dish INSTANTLY healthier and lower in calories (I love pasta... I can't give it up), there is a way to replace the pasta itself with zucchini... I've never tried it but I plan to soon! I believe there's a recipe on epicurious (the recipe involves some sort of sauce, but I referred to it solely for information on the zucchini-pasta half).

01-20-2011, 11:41 PM
What about okra, fresh figs, variants on fruits you already eat (e.g., blood oranges, pluots), tomatillos, rhubarb (for sauces or jam), radishes, or pumpkin?