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Finding fresh ways to pack in more produce

November 8, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
Most people know they should be getting plenty of fruits and vegetables but those looking for them in processed foods may be surprised by what they find - or don't find - in these produce pretenders.When you see how small a proper serving of produce is, it stumps experts like Elizabeth Brown as to why 60 percent of Americans fail to eat even the proper amount of fruit. What we do seem to eat plenty of is processed food that pretends to offer produce.

If you think you're getting fruit in the yogurt with "fruit at the bottom" - think again.

"You might get a teaspoon of some type of dried fruit or fruit flakes. Rarely will you ever get an actual fruit serving," said Brown.

The same goes for "fruity" cereals.

"You're just not going to get that fruit you think you're getting so you might want to try to add even a handful of dried raisins or cranberries or something to that serving and then you can really justify it," suggested Brown.

Chocolate-covered raisins, pop up pastries and fig bars all hide behind the same veil of pretend produce. Choosing them over the real deal cuts down on nutrient value while upping the calorie content.

Brown suggests eating a real fig instead of a fig bar to cut calories while keeping the full iron and fiber. Plain raisins still beat out chocolate-covered which have added sugar and fat.

Plain frozen vegetables are also a good choice because they're often picked in the field and frozen quickly to retain their nutrient value. But watch out for veggies frozen in sauce, which often pack a load of sodium.


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