Tuesday, December 29, 2009

REAL Food, REAL Fast: Grape Tomatoes

In my last installment of this segment, I recommended prepackaged, prewashed slaw mix (the shredded cabbage and carrots – NOT any dressings!) as a super easy way to incorporate more REAL food into your diets, even when pressed for time.  I hope you’ve given it a try.
Another convenient food I like to have on hand is grape tomatoes.  These are easy to wash, simple to store and can be a great portable snack.  Rather than snacking on some fortified crackers or even “healthy” chips which don’t offer any naturally occurring nutrients from vital living sources, opting for
these colorful little gems increases your intake of vitamins A and C.  After washing the tomatoes, I like to drain them in a colander then allow them to dry on a plate lined with a few paper towels, so that when I store them in the refrigerator all traces of moisture are gone, preventing the likelihood of the tomatoes getting moldy.
Divide some of the tomatoes into several plastic baggies and store in the refrigerator so that you have a quick “grab & go” snack.  Toss in some cut up carrots and your colorful snack bags can be ready and waiting for several days.  I also like to just have some in a bowl in the refrigerator so that when I am cooking dinner and feel like I’d like a little something to nibble on instead of cheese & crackers, they are available.  When he’s home, my son is more likely to grab a handful of these little tomatoes during most of his many daily ventures into the ‘fridge looking for something to eat simply because they are right in front of his face. 
These grape tomatoes are also great when cut in half and added to some sautéed greens, as a topping for most any bean dish and as an addition to salad (when short on time, I especially like to make a simple salad of the pre-packaged cole slaw veggies, halved grape tomatoes, a little olive oil and vinegar, and some salt and pepper).   Cooking tomatoes with a healthy oil (like olive oil) helps boost our body’s ability to absorb some of their nutrients.  By purchasing a large container of these little tomatoes and washing them as soon as I get home, I challenge myself to use them before they get old, thus forcing me to eat more of these nutrition-packed minis than if I’d just stuck them into my produce bin, still packaged.  All excuses have been covered. Give it a try.

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