Adding Vegetables and Fruit to your Diet

Healthy Fast Food: Turn your fridge into a salad bar and deli.

| January 2004

We get up early, stay up late, work odd hours—often away from home—and spend less time around the home fires than we’d like. We do most of our hunting and gathering in supermarkets, natural food stores, farmer’s markets and by mail or Internet.

Our fast-paced lifestyles can make the prospect of getting nourishing and delicious meals on the table seem like an ominous endeavor. We know we should be eating produce-dominated meals, but how do we find the time to prepare all the fruits, vegetables and lean proteins necessary for a healthy diet?

The biggest stumbling block to eating healthy meals is not having healthy food on hand when hunger strikes. The solution: Shop, chop, prep and cook more food in advance of meals before we’re ready to reach for whatever processed food is within easy reach — even if it’s not part of our New Year’s resolutions.

To get a running start for the week, set aside a four-hour block of time on Saturday or Sunday. Don’t make a week’s worth of food in one afternoon — the food wouldn’t be fresh, flavorful or nutritious. (Salad dressings, marinades, toasted nuts, salsa, chutney and barbecue sauces are the exceptions, as most will keep for two weeks.) The aim is to turn the refrigerator into a healthy salad bar and deli to be prepared for the first half to three-quarters of the week. With this head start, it won’t take as much effort to keep the food flowing all week.

1. Shop ahead

To eat produce-dominated meals three times a day, purchase copious quantities of vegetables and fruits. You’ll want to fill every nook and cranny with fresh produce at the start of the week, then restock as the supply dwindles. If the refrigerator is amply stocked with fresh foods, you’re more apt to eat them than processed foods.

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