Fresh produce, while good for you, can be expensive. While I’m not willing to compromise my family’s nutrition to save money, I certainly want to get the most of out the money I spend on produce. To get the biggest nutrient bang for your buck, choose and prepare your fruits and vegetables wisely.

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Ways to Pump up your Produce:

Leave skins on: Skins are often packed with nutrients, so eat the skins too!

Eat soon after purchasing: Fruit and veggies start to lose nutrients as they age, so ideally you want to eat your produce within one week after purchase. 

Find out when your local supermarket stocks fresh fruit and veggies: To maximize the freshness of your produce, be shop on the day your local supermarket stocks their produce. If you wait until produce has already been sitting in the store for a week, you’ve already lost valuable nutrients before you even purchase. Not sure when they stock? Just ask!

Always select the brightest, most colorful fruits and vegetables: Think bright reds, yellows, oranges and greens! The brighter the color, the more vitamins and nutrients your produce will have.

Eat in season: Fruits and veggies tend to be highest in nutrients when in their prime ripeness, so focus on buying produce that’s in season.

Eat raw fruits and vegetables whenever possible: Cooking can change the chemical makeup of foods, so generally eating raw produce is healthier.

*Exceptions to the raw rule: cooked carrots and tomatoes provide more antioxidants, and steamed broccoli is best.

Avoid washing until right before you eat: Water can start the nutrient breakdown process, which can cause your fruits and veggies to spoil faster. Be sure to wash your fruits and veggies right before eating to maximize your nutrient intake.

Buy organic: Pesticides and other chemicals can break down nutrients found in fruits and veggies. Select organic produce to maximize the nutrient benefits and keep harmful chemicals out of your body.

*All advice in this article should not replace the advice of your doctor.