Though there are no major shortages of food in this country, canned and frozen foods may be difficult to find due to consumer stockpiling. Fear not - fresh foods can also be frozen at home. Refer to our chart below to learn how to freeze them.
Plus Here's 4 Tips to Make Your Produce Last Longer:
Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Frequently Asked Questions. FDA. Accessed March 2020.
Demichele, K. How to Store Fruits and Vegetables. Cook's Illustrated. 2019. Accessed March 2020.
Refrigerator and Freezer Storage Chart. FDA. 2018. Accessed March 2020.
The Big Thaw - Safe Defrosting Methods for Consumers. USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service. 2013. Accessed March 2020.
By Kylie Sakaida, MS, RD, LDN
Avoid unnecessary trips to the grocery store by making use of long-lasting ingredients. To create a supportive meal, mix and match simple combinations of starch, produce, protein, and healthy fats (like olive oil and olives).
1. Utilize Tortillas to Make a Variety of Quesadillas and Tacos
PROTEIN OPTIONS: black, pinto, or garbanzo beans, frozen shrimp, or cheese
PRODUCE OPTIONS: frozen spinach, peppers, or broccoli and jarred salsa
Tip: frozen produce often has just as many - if not more - vitamins than fresh
2. Use Leftover Grains (Like Rice or Quinoa) for a Stir-fry
PROTEIN OPTIONS: tofu or eggs
PRODUCE OPTIONS: frozen broccoli, peas, or peppers and canned vegetables like baby corn or mushrooms
3. Get Creative with Pasta
PROTEIN OPTIONS: white beans, chickpeas, anchovies, or tuna
PRODUCE OPTIONS: garlic and onions, canned tomatoes (or tomato paste), dried mushrooms and herbs (like basil, oregano, or thyme), jarred roasted red peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, and frozen broccoli or spinach
Tip: try this pasta with chickpeas recipe, which utilizes only pantry ingredients
By Kylie Sakaida, MS, RD, LDN
Getting enough vitamin A, C, and E is important for maintaining a healthy immune system. Most of us don't need supplements to do this. In fact, you can support your immune system even while minimizing grocery store trips.
Here's how to stock your kitchen with healthy foods that have low perishability:
Labeling Daily Values. NIH Dietary Supplement Label Database. Accessed April 2020.
USDA Nutrient Database Laboratory. Accessed April 2020.
Vitamin A. NIH: Office of Dietary Supplements. Last updated February 14 2020. Accessed March 2020.
Vitamin C. NIH: Office of Dietary Supplements. Last updated February 27 2020. Accessed March 2020.
Vitamin E. NIH: Office of Dietary Supplements. Last updated February 28 2020. Accessed March 2020.
By Kristine Miklos, MS, RD, LDN
Approximately one-third of the world’s food supply is lost or wasted every year. Fruits and vegetables have the highest waste of any food, so we’ve gathered a few tips to help pack produce onto your plate and divert it from the dumpster.
Root Vegetables: Get Soup Savvy
Blending root vegetables is a quick, easy way to savor the flavors of the season. (They are easily frozen this way too.)
Leafy Greens: Wilted? That Works!
Sauteing leafy greens is a useful cooking strategy when their crispness begins to decline.
Cauliflower: Go Halfsies with Grains
Cauliflower’s chameleon-like flavor makes it one of the most versatile vegetables out there.
FAO. Cutting Food Waste to Feed the World. 2011. Last accessed 2020.
Ever wonder why certain fruits and vegetables are so vibrant? The red to blue-violet hues come from protective plant compounds called anthocyanins.
Along with providing color, anthocyanins may help protect your heart.
They are found in:
Anthocyanins may decrease blood pressure and increase flexibility of artery walls. They have also been associated with reducing inflammation in the body, which may decrease risk of chronic diseases like heart disease. Anthocyanin-rich foods might also defend against heart attacks by protecting the lining of heart and blood vessels.
But having strawberries solely on Valentine’s Day isn’t going to cut it.
Research suggests consuming at least ½ cup of anthocyanin-containing foods daily may have benefits. As for those berries? They may be particularly good for your heart – eating them more than 3 times per week may reduce risk of a heart attack.
Need inspiration? Try this quinoa breakfast bowl with strawberries.
Bhagwat H, Haytowitz D, Holden J. USDA database for the flavonoid content of selected foods. USDA Agriculture Research Service. 2013.
Cassidy A, Mukamal K, Liu L, Franz M, Eliassen A, and Rimm E. High anthocyanin intake is associated with a reduced risk of myocardial infarction in young and middle-aged women. Circulation. 2013;127(2): 188-196.
Cassidy A, Rogers G, Peterson J, Dwyer J, Lin H, et al. Higher dietary anthocyanin and flavonol intakes are associated with anti-inflammatory effects in a population of US adults. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2015; 102(1): 172-181.
Hassellund S, Flaa A, Kjeldsen S, Selijeflot I, Karlsen A, Erlund I, and Rostrup M. Effects of anthocyanins on cardiovascular risk factors and inflammation in pre-hypertensive men: a double-blind randomized placebo-controlled crossover study. Journal of Human Hypertension. 2013; 27: 100-106.
Jennings A, Welch A, Fairweather-Tait S, Minihane A, Chowiencyzk P, et al. Higher anthocyanin intake is associated with lower arterial stiffness and central blood pressure in women. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2012; 96(4): 781-788.
By Alyssa Tisdale, MGH Dietetic Intern
Big changes are coming to food labels starting January 2020. We’ve got tips to help break it all down.
REALITY CHECK FOR PORTIONS
FORGET "CALORIES FROM FAT"
ADDED VERSUS NATURAL SUGAR
Label Reading Tip: check the Percent Daily Value (DV) – foods with more than 20% DV are considered high in that nutrient.
2015 – 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture. 8th Edition. 2015..
Briggs MA, Petersen KS, Kris-Etherton PM. Saturated Fatty Acids and Cardiovascular Disease: Replacements for Saturated Fat to Reduce Cardiovascular Risk. Healthcare (Basel). 2017;5(2):29.
Changes to the Nutrition Facts Label. FDA. 2019.
Health Facts: Know Your Fats. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Toolkit for Health Professionals. 2008.
Mayne, S. Statement on New Guidance for the Declaration of Added Sugars on Food Labels for Single-Ingredient Sugars and Syrups and Certain Cranberry Products. FDA. 2019.
By Jennie Dockser, MGH Dietetic Intern
During the holidays, we are often exposed to situations that can influence how much we eat. Instead of fearing weight gain, focus on strategies that allow for the enjoyment of festive foods.
Tips to try this season:
Try this sweet potato pancake recipe – it is an excellent source of vitamin A, which supports immune function to help keep you healthy during the holidays.
Díaz-Zavala RG, Castro-Cantú MF, Valencia ME, Álvarez-Hernández G, Haby MM, Esparza
Romero J. Effect of the Holiday Season on Weight Gain: A Narrative Review. J Obes.2017; 2085136.
Huang Z, Liu Y, Qi G, Brand D, Zheng SG. Role of Vitamin A in the Immune System. J Clin Med. 2018;7(9): 258.
Niacin Facts Sheet for Health Professionals. National Institutes of Health. Last Updated July 2019. Accessed October 2019.
Regularly eating cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli, may be associated with a lower risk of cancer. Studies also show that consuming cruciferous vegetables may help improve cancer survival and reduce risk of early death from chronic diseases, like heart disease.
Other cruciferous vegetables include:
Cruciferous vegetables contain sulfur compounds that promote detoxification pathways in the liver and help eliminate toxins and waste. Research has shown these compounds may help attack cancer cells and could protect the heart by reducing inflammation.
Cruciferous vegetables, like most fruits and vegetables, are also rich disease-fighting plant compounds like antioxidants. Eat cruciferous vegetables often. Some research correlates consuming about 4 to 6 ounces per day with benefits. (This would be the equivalent of eating at least a cup daily.)
Try these ideas to increase your cruciferous vegetable intake:
Abdull Razis AF, Konsue N, and C Ioannides. Isothiocyanates and xenobiotic detoxification. Molecular Nutrition & Food Research. 2018;62(18):e1700916.
Farvid MS, Chen WY, Rosner BA, Tamimi, RM, Willett WC and AH Eliassen. Fruit and vegetable consumption and breast cancer incidence: repeated measures over 30 years of follow‐up. Int. J. Cancer. 2019;144(7):1496-1510.
Grundemann C and R Huber. Chemoprevention with isothiocyanates – from bench to bedside. 2018;414:(26-33).
Wu QJ, et al. Pre-diagnostic cruciferous vegetables intake and lung cancer survival among Chinese women. Sci Rep. 2015;5(10306).
Zhang X, et al. Cruciferous vegetable consumption is associated with a reduced risk of total and cardiovascular disease mortality. Am J Clin Nutr. 2011; 94(1): 240–246.
Opinions on whether to eat or skip breakfast can be contentious. Is breakfast really the most important meal of the day?
Skipping breakfast is associated with an increased risk of obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular-related deaths. However, these associations may be related to overall health patterns, instead of breakfast itself.
Meal timing, quality, and size are also important to consider. A recent study found that making breakfast the largest meal of the day (compared to dinner) was associated with a decreased body mass index.
Research has also shown that having a breakfast with fiber-containing carbohydrates corresponded to less abdominal fat. The type of foods in this study tended to be nutrient-rich including whole grain cereals, nuts, and fruits.
The bottom line is that eating a supportive breakfast may offer health benefits. Chose a breakfast that contains naturally good sources of fiber and check out these options for suggestions on where to start.
Chatelan, A, Castetbon, K, Pasquier, J et al. Association between breakfast composition and abdominal obesity in the Swiss adult population eating breakfast regularly. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2018; 15(1): 115.
Deshmukh-Taskar, P., Nicklas, T., Radcliffe, J., O'Neil, C., & Liu, Y. The relationship of breakfast skipping and type of breakfast consumed with overweight/obesity, abdominal obesity, other cardiometabolic risk factors and the metabolic syndrome in young adults. The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES): 1999–2006. Public Health Nutrition. 2013; 16(11): 2073-2082.
Kahleova H, Lloren JI, Mashchak A, Hill M, Fraser GE. Meal Frequency and Timing Are Associated with Changes in Body Mass Index in Adventist Health Study 2. J Nutr. 2017;147(9):1722–1728.
Rong, S, Snetselaar, L, Xu, G, Sun, Y, Liu, B, Wallace, R, Bao, W. Association of skipping breakfast with cardiovascular and all-cause mortality. Journal of American College of Cardiology. 2019; 73(16): 2025-2032.
In the United States, we throw out a lot of food. It is estimated that:
Here are tips to reduce food waste so that your money goes further at the grocery store.
Plan meals ahead and shop with a list. When you only buy what you need, you are less likely to have leftover ingredients at the end of the week.
Utilize your freezer to store leftovers, meats, fruits, and vegetables
Adapt your favorite recipes to use up leftover produce by swapping in similar vegetables:
Buzby JC, Farah-Wells H, Hyman J. The Estimated Amount, Value, and Calories of Postharvest Food Losses at the Retail and Consumer Levels in the United States. United States Department of Agriculture Electronic Journal. 2014.
Conrad Z, Niles MT, Neher DA, Roy ED, Tichenor NE, Jahns L. Relationship between food waste, diet quality, and environmental sustainability. Plos One. 2018;13(4).
Venkat K. The Climate Change and Economic Impacts of Food Waste in the United States. Int J Food System Dynamics. 2011;2(4):231-446.