chef micki

The #1 Secret To Expanding Your Taste

Spinach with Asparagus & Goat Cheese

They say familiarity breeds contempt. And that’s the last thing you want when it comes to fruits and vegetables. But if you eat bananas day after day, you may get sick of them and quit eating fruits altogether. Or you could go to the other extreme, trying some exotic new vegetable, hating it and leaving your diet lacking. So we asked Miki Hackney, corporate chef at Melissa’s Produce for some tips on expanding your repertoire of fruits and veggies. Her advice: take baby steps.

“Let’s say you don’t like prunes,” says Chef Miki. “Consider that they’re related to plums.” Then follow a progressive food chain to get from one to the other. “Go from eating plums to eating more grapes. Then go from grapes to raisins. And then go from incorporating more raisins in your diet to working in prunes,” she explains.

Another easy, slow transition? Get from iceberg lettuce to dark leafy greens. “Iceberg doesn’t have much nutritional value,” explains Chef Miki. “But you could start by adding mixed greens to your salad.” Once you get accustomed to that, try adding in spinach or arugula, finally progressing to kale and collard greens.”

In a food rut? Post a comment and tell us what fruit or veggie you’ve gotten stuck on.

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.

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.