Healthy Family Challenge

Your Top 3 Fruit and Veggie Mistakes

Sometimes you have the best intentions, but end up getting the worst results. Take eating more healthy, for example. Ever gave up dessert only to find yourself eating more dinner and not losing weight? Eating more fruits and veggies is a great idea, but sometimes how we do it takes away from the health benefit. To help you maximize your results, we spoke to Miki Hackney, corporate chef at Melissa’s Produce.  Watch out for these healthy food slip-ups she pointed out.

Mistake #1: Cooking Veggies Too Long
“The longer you cook them, the fewer nutrients you’ll get,” explains Chef Miki, who warns that the veggies keep cooking even after you’ve turned off the heat. She says most people over-bake and over-stirfry because they prefer soft vegetables. But if you want more vitamins and minerals from your food, work on developing a palate for crisper produce.

Mistake #2: Drowning Your Salad
Fess up. How much French, Ranch or Caesar dressing are you pouring on your greens? Probably too much. “You only need an ounce of dressing for a side salad, but most people put on at least ¼ cup,” reveals Chef Miki. That means at a minimum you’re drizzling double the amount of calories and fat, which can get pretty high. “Dressing is supposed to enhance the flavor of the salad, not take it over,” says Chef Miki. Aim for that and you’ll pour out less.

Mistake #3: Letting It Go To Waste
Instead of tossing out rotten strawberries or blueberries, freeze your extra fresh fruit before it goes bad. Just wash and slice it first before you put it on ice. “It will lose some of its nutrient value and texture,” admits Chef Miki. But it’s better than letting fruits and veggies end up in the trash.

What fruit and veggie mistakes are you guilty of? Post a comment and fess up here!

In addition to sending our Healthy Family Challenge teams weekly bundles of new fruits and vegetables to try, Melissa’s Produce offered up corporate chef Miki Hackney as an advisor to our families.

Win a FLogg Daily Food and Fitness Journal!

FLogg Journal

Earlier today, Tiffany told us how she and her family are logging their exercise and food and water intakes in FLogg Daily Food and Fitness Journals. By doing so, they’ll see how the small changes they’re making will have big payoffs in terms of weight loss and overall health.

Want a journal of your own? Go here to enter to win one of five.

Challenge Yourself: Try New Fruits and Vegetables

Purple and blue vegetables

To help the Lehmans and Avaglianos in their quest for better nutrition, Melissa’s has been sending each family a weekly produce shipment. The goal is to introduce the teams to new fruits and veggies so they’ll be inspired to make healthier meals. Tiffany just reported that her favorite new veggie is jicama, a hearty root. She loves to eat it plain but also bakes jicama strips as a fries substitute for her kids.

If you’re also trying to eat more fruits and vegetables but aren’t sure where to start, check out this story, “Eat Bright: Healthy Fruits and Vegetables.” Research has shown that an easy way to eat healthier is to make sure your meals are colorful with a variety of fruits and veggies. This story details which ones can easily be incorporated into your diet and how they can boost your health.

What new fruit or veggie have you recently discovered? Share in the comments below.

Tiffany, Week 1: You’ll Never Guess Our New Favorite Vegetable


We have been given an abundance of produce from Melissa’s. Every week they deliver a shipment filled with new fruits and vegetables for us to try right to our door and have loved almost all of it!

One of my newest favorites is Jicama. I’d never heard of it before this challenge. Jicama is a starchy root that contains only 35 calories per 100g.  It’s high in fiber and anti-oxidants.  You can add jicama to stir fries or have it in strips with some lime squeezed over top of it for a refreshing snack. It is so good. I cut it up and it’s great plain.

The kids didn’t care much for it plain. So I spray a cookie sheet with an olive oil non-stick spray, cut the jicama like French fries and sprinkle seasoning salt, spray a little more of the olive oil spray and bake at 400 for 20 minutes and voila! They were crunchy, salty and sweet. Almost like fries. Really does it get any better than that? Don’t we all want something crunch, salty and sweet?  It’s the triple threat.  This makes it even better because it’s good for you too!

It’s been tough getting the kids on board with the challenge. But its helped us to realize that in the world of fast, fast, fast and go, go, go, fruits and veggies can be just as fast as other grab and go foods. You can grab an apple or a pear faster than you can wait on line at a sub shop for chips. We just need to think in that light.

Leave a comment and let me know your favorite healthy on-the-go food.

Photo via Farmanac iPhone app

Challenge Yourself: Take Fruits and Vegetable Snacks on the Go

Carrot Sticks

It’s not easy to stick to a diet when you’re on vacation. Like Peggy mentioned in her post, when you’re in an unfamiliar place surrounded by new, local eats, there’s the overwhelming temptation to indulge. While there’s no harm in that, just be sure to eat in moderation and balance your splurges with healthier fare. Peggy noted that although she and her family are noshing on croissants and brie in, they’re also snaking on fruits and vegetables.

You can do the same during your travels. Fruits and vegetables are portable, naturally nutritious and low-calorie–which make them the perfect snacks to fuel your sightseeing. Plus, they’ll fill you up so you’ll be less likely to overeat once you sit down for a richer meal. Check out our healthiest on-the-go fruit and veggie snacks here.

What fruits and vegetables do you snack on during vacation? Tell us in the comments below.