Seasonal Produce Buys


As the fall rapidly changes and those temps continue to drop, more produce options are on stage.

Try some of these hot tickets this fall/winter:

Pears are free of fat, salt and cholesterol. They contain superb sources of fiber in both skin and fruit, which also contains loads of nutrients. Don’t peel it, eat pears fresh in salads, as a snack or cook them for dessert.

Butternut Squash is also packed with nutrients. It contains fiber, B6 (for the nerves) and helps with our immune system. Did you know it can be used as a substitute for pumpkin? Try it mashed like yams, stuffed and baked with apples and spices, or roasted and turned into fritters.

Cauliflower is a very low calorie, high in vitamin C and folate food. This veggie can replace potatoes in many recipes. Some go to options are creaming it for soups, roasting it as a side item, and use it as a rice replacement by shredding it into a small rice like texture. Look for mixed veggies with cauliflower at chef’s corner and carvery lines.

Cranberries are not just for turkey. These powerful pellets are filled with vitamin C, E and K. Try them in salads, toss with roasted squash, turn into relish and top turkey burgers or sandwiches, or bake low calorie pumpkin muffins. Bakers try this Easy Pumpkin Muffin Recipe and remember to fold in 1 cup of dried cranberries to your mix before baking. (Choose lower sugar options for dried bagged cranberries.) Campus salad bars are a great place to add in cranberries.

Mushrooms are an amazing source of vitamin D, which we all need during the winter months. Use them in stir-frys, roast with veggies, bake in casseroles, add to breakfast dishes, and in soups/stews. Mix different varieties together such as crimini, oyster, portabella, and shiitakes to get even more benefits. This is the one produce I forget and let spoil. Make sure you know how and when to use produce that can spoil faster than others. Have a few go to recipes for mushrooms that can be used quickly and place them front and center in the fridge to avoid missing them. Don’t forget campus Asian lines and salads are a great way to add in mushrooms!

Jalapeños are a great addition to a healthy plate. 1 cup of jalapenos has 70% vitamin C, and 15% vitamin A. Don’t like the heat, remove the veins and seeds for a non-heated flavor. Try them diced, grilled, stuffed, sautéed, in fruit salsa and in breakfast dishes such as omelets. Top off your next campus meal with salsa, Pico de Gallo or jalapenos!

Citrus Fruits shine during the holidays and many are superior during winter months like navel oranges and cuties. Loaded in vitamin C, A, calcium, potassium and fiber. Use citrus to dress up a salad, fish, protein and pasta. Grab a fresh orange at our dining locations today.

Abundant Deals on Produce: This week alone I saw great deals on grapes, bananas, jalapeños, clementines, tomatoes, apples, onions, potatoes, carrots, avocados, cranberries and mixed nuts in and out of their shell. From local ads such as Food King, Sprouts, United/Market Street, and Walmart.

Tips to Save on Groceries: Sales ads for local grocery stores run Wednesday through Tuesday. Did you know that many local stores Sprouts for instance, has sales that last all month, along with manufacturer’s coupons on their website to help save a little extra this season and all year? Also, check out Double Ad Wednesdays at Sprouts, purchase last week’s ad specials and the newly released ad each Wednesday only. Their ads run Wednesday to Wednesday. I also enjoy the recipes provided on local grocery store websites along with digital or printable coupons. Walmart Coupons, Sprouts Deals and Coupons, Food King Ad, United Supermarket Ad, Market Street Ad, and Amigos Ad

More Campus Tips: Load up on healthy produce- topping off your Mexican dishes, Stir-fry, and adding plenty of veggies to wraps and sandwiches campus wide.

Remember all forms matter- choose dried, fresh, canned and frozen produce. Aim for 5 servings a day with one at each meal and snack. (How? Try to pick at least 2 fruits and 3 veggies each day.)

Prepared by Hospitality Dietitian Mindy Diller, MS, RDN, LD 


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