Fresh Focus #17: Holiday meal prep with success


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Whew, you’re back from the grocery store and your countertop is full! Now, what to do with all the food you just purchased? Episode 17 of the Fresh Focus podcast dives into holiday meal prep and gives tips on how to be successful with the process during the upcoming holidays.

Remember, when you get home from the grocery store, try to get the prep work already done so you can simply open the fridge and enjoy your produce throughout the week.

Here are some tips on produce as you put away those groceries:

  • Several items, like potatoes, bananas and tomatoes need to be kept cool and dry, but not in the fridge.
  • Mushrooms should only be washed right before use.
  • Apples should actually be stored in the fridge. If left at room temperature, they will soften ten times faster.
  • Carrots like the fridge and seem to do better when peeled right before use. Berries are the same way.

Freezing fruits and vegetables is quick and easy, plus the colder temperature helps to preserve the produce at its peak maturity and maintain nutritional quality. There are a few foods not recommended for freezing. These would be lettuce greens, eggplant, potatoes, radishes and sprouts.

Bananas are delicious but quick to ripen. A solution is to peel and freeze overripe bananas in a clean Ziplock bag. The frozen bananas can then be used later in baking or in a yummy fruit smoothie. Papaya and mangoes work well this way, too. Remember that fruits are naturally sweet and do contain carbohydrates.

As you put all the groceries away, grab one of those handy fruits or veggies and think about the meal possibilities for the holidays.

Tune in to this episode as we put a Fresh Focus on some holiday meal ideas or recipes that you could prepare, but with an emphasis on lower carbohydrate options than what was traditionally in Aunt Betsy’s home buffet.


Melaina Lane, RDN, LDN, CDCES works for the Marion VA HCS.

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