Spring brings with it a huge crop of fruits and vegetables you should consider adding to your family’s diet. Produce can be expensive, but it’s worth it.
“Eating a plant-based diet rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans can reduce your risk for cancer,” says Clare McKindley, a clinical dietitian at MD Anderson’s Cancer Prevention Center in Texas. She offers up a list of affordable choices for your family’s health:
Serving size: 1 cup
Calories per serving: 46
Price: $2.28 per pound, which should give you more than two servings, for a total of 89 cents per serving.
Fresh check: The berries should be firm and free from mold, decay or damage, with their green caps still attached. More than half the surface of each berry should be red.
Health benefits: Nutrients in these berries protect the body from breast, skin, bladder, esophageal and lung cancers.
Serving size: 1 cup of pineapple chunks
Calories per serving: 82
Price: $1.04 per pound (if you buy them whole). You should get five servings of pineapple chunks from each pineapple, for a total of 70 cents per serving.
Fresh check: Choose whole pineapples that don’t have soft or dark spots.
Health benefits: Pineapple is low in sodium, high in vitamin C and fat free. It can substitute for less-healthy treats and help families maintain healthy weight.
Serving size: 1 cup raw spinach
Calories per serving: 7
Price: $3.92 per pound. A 10-ounce bag should give you five servings of spinach, for a cost of 52 cents per serving.
Fresh check: Choose fresh, crisp, green bunches and watch out for insect damage.
Health benefits: Fiber, folate and antioxidants in spinach may protect the body from cancers of the mouth, pharynx and larynx.
Serving size: 1 cup cooked
Calories per serving: 21
Price: $2.19 per pound, which should yield 2 ½ servings of cooked greens, for a cost of 81 cents per serving.
Fresh check: Look for fresh, tender leaves that are clean and free from damage.
Health benefits: Mustard greens have the same cancer-fighting power as spinach, but are an alternative for those who don’t like raw greens.
Serving size: 1 cup chopped
Calories per serving: 30
Price: $1.84 per pound, which should yield five servings, for a cost of 63 cents per serving.
Fresh check: Choose odorless bunches with tight, bluish-green florets.
Health benefits: Broccoli boasts huge quantities of folate, fiber and antioxidants that protect the body from colorectal cancer.