In the post Lose Weight by Making 5 Simple Changes in Your Kitchen, I talked about a handful of simple ways to eat healthier by changing your environment. As an Integrative RDN, one of the quick and easy strategies I explained to help increase your consumption of fruits and veggies with minimal effort is to cut veggies and fruit and place it at eye level (or on the top shelf) in your fridge in clear containers or bags.
When produce is cut and ready to munch on, it’s a lot more tempting when you’re hungry and want to grab something fast. When it’s already cut and ready to eat or cook with, eating produce becomes the default go-to item. It’s the first thing you see when you open the fridge.
So, let’s get that produce that’s loaded with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytonutrients, enzymes, and more out of the crisper drawers and ready to eat! The key to storing cut vegetables is to manage moisture and use them as quickly as possible.
- Beets, Bell peppers: Store in a sealed container or bag wrapped with moist paper towels.
- Broccoli, Cauliflower: Store in a container or bag with moist paper towels. Don’t seal the container.
- Carrots, Celery, Radishes: Store wrapped in a moist paper towel or submerged in filtered water. If storing in water, cover but don’t seal the container.
- Cucumbers: Store in an airtight container or bag.
- Garlic, Onions: Store in an airtight container or bag.
- Tender Leafy Greens (Lettuce, Spinach, etc.): Wash, spin dry, and store in thin layers between paper towels in a container. Or, sandwich thin layers of leafy greens between paper towels and roll together and secure with a rubber band. Or, store in Debbie Meyer GreenBags to keep fresh (I’ve been using these for years for greens and they really work).
Keep in mind that vegetables lose nutrients and flavor once cut because they are exposed to air (oxidation). Proper storage of cut vegetables maintains freshness and flavor longer, and also makes them really easy to eat as snacks or use in recipes. All cut vegetables should be used within 2 to 3 days. Carrots, celery, and radishes will last up to 5 days when stored in water but if storing that long, be sure to replace the water each day or at least every other day.
So go on, cut up some veggies!
Do you pre-cut veggies or plan to start? I’d love to hear your comments below.
Note: Fermentation is another AWESOME way to store fresh veggies and make them super convenient to eat. Not to mention, fermentation extends the shelf life of fresh veggies from days to months and adds a bunch of other benefits in the process! More on this and recipes in future posts. =)