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Understanding Foods Without a Label
By Rebecca Mohning   View more articles by this author
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October 15

Are you feeling overwhelmed at the grocery store reading food labels all the time and deciding what to buy food that is healthy? The best news about choosing fruits and vegetables is that you really can’t go wrong with them being a healthy choice and they don’t come with confusing food labels to read. The American Cancer Society and the American Institute for Cancer Research recommend eating five or more servings of a variety of vegetables and fruits each day to ensure that your cancer risk is as low as it can be. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend nine servings of fruit and vegetables each day. This sounds like a lot, but it's really only about two cups of fruit and two and a half cups of vegetables.

The key is to buy a variety, because different fruits and vegetables have different nutrients. Plus, if you eat too much of one fruit or vegetable, you'll get bored. One way to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables is to choose a fruit and/or vegetable from every color. Different colors of fruits and vegetables mean different nutrients are present within them.

More good news, in 1998, the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) confirmed that frozen fruits and vegetables provide the same essential nutrients and health benefits as fresh. Frozen fruits and vegetables are nothing more than fresh fruits and vegetables that have been blanched (cooked for a short time in boiling water or steamed) and frozen within hours of being picked. Further, frozen fruits and vegetables are processed at their peak in terms of freshness and nutrition. Buying frozen saves time since they are washed, cut, and ready to go. Also you don’t have to worry about them spoiling before you get a chance to use them.

For peak flavor and good value, fresh produce in season is always the best choice so don’t forget to shop locally for fruits and vegetables that are in season. This website link will give you an idea of the seasons for different fruits and vegetables are where you live - http://www.sustainabletable.org/shop/eatseasonal/. Remember eating any fruits and vegetables is better than no fruits and vegetables at all.

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