More and more people are buying organic fruits and vegetables every day in stores across the country. But until recently, there was no clear understanding of what was really meant by organic, and rules and regulations varied throughout the country. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) now has issued the National Organic Standards (NOS). This marks the beginning of consistent certification and labeling of organic products.
USDA developed strict labeling rules that apply to raw, fresh, and processed foods that contain organic ingredients. Before any product can be labeled organic, a government-approved certifier inspects the farm where the food is grown to ensure the grower is following all rules. Companies that handle or process organic food also must be certified. USDA defines "organic" food as food grown and processed without using most conventional pesticides; without fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge, and without biotechnology and ionizing radiation.
Organic fruits and vegetables are an option for providing the important variety of vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytochemicals the body uses to stay healthy and energetic. The Produce for Better Health Foundation has a simple way to choose 5 to 9 colorful servings of fruits and vegetables every day-it's called The Color Way. There are five color groups-blue/purple, green, white, yellow/orange and red. Simply choose from all the groups to get the unique benefits each fruit and vegetable has to offer.
From snacks to mixed dishes, there are countless ways to include colorful organic fruits and vegetables in your daily diet. Try a fruit smoothie with organic bananas, mangoes, and kiwifruit in the morning; a salad with organic leaf lettuce, carrots, grape tomatoes and cucumbers for lunch; and a side dish of organic vegetables for dinner featuring Chef Martin Yan's recipe, Chinatown Broccoli and Cauliflower Medley. It's easy to eat your colors every day!
For more information on Melissa's organic fruits and vegetables, visit www.melissas.com. For information about 5 A Day and The Color Way Guide, visit www.5aday.org and www.aboutproduce.com.
Chinatown Broccoli and Cauliflower Medley
- 1-1/2 teaspoons cooking oil
- 1 medium organic carrot, thinly sliced diagonally
- 1 organic red bell pepper, seeded and cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1/2 organic yellow onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 2 ounces baby corn
- 1/4 cup organic broccoli florets
- 1/4 cup organic cauliflower florets
- 1/2 cup snow peas
- 1/4 cup vegetable broth
- 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon oyster flavored sauce
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- Combine sauce ingredients in a bowl.
- Place a wok or wide frying pan over high heat until hot. Add oil, swirling to coat sides. Add vegetables and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add sauce and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-high; cover and cook for 3 minutes. Serves 4.
Nutrients Per Serving:
total fat: 3.2g,
saturated fat: 0.4g,
% calories from fat: 39%,
protein: 2g, carbohydrates: 10g,
dietary fiber: 2g,
Diabetic Exchanges: 2 Vegetable, 1 Fat