Eating quantities of produce is part of being healthy!  This is the season of abundant produce at the farmer’s market and, if you garden, from your garden.

Even if you do not have a garden or shop at the farmer’s market, you may, in spite of all your efforts not to waste food, sometimes you find produce that is past its prime.  If you can use it up quickly, you can often avoid wasting it.

1.  Use ripe produce to make smoothies. 

A smoothie is an excellent way to consume a large quantity of produce without much work or effort.  Smoothies can make quick, healthy, and easy snacks.

While fruit is usually considered as good smoothie material, vegetables can often be added without being detected at all.  Plus, vegetables such as kale, spinach, and broccoli are high in fiber and nutrients while being very low in sugar.

While many people insist on using a recipe for smoothies, all you really need is some fruit, vegetables, and water.  Often I have heard of sugar or another sweetener being added.  To make your smoothie healthier, omit the sugar.  Over time, you may be surprised that you do not miss it!

You can add some nut butter or hemp seeds if you like protein in your smoothies!

A flight attendant once told me that she would make smoothies ahead of time and freeze them to take along on her flights.  Isn’t that brilliant?

2.  Use ripe produce to make soup. 

Again, while a recipe is just great for soups, you can make soup with a meat and whatever vegetables you have in your refrigerator.  You can also serve it over leftover rice or pasta.  If you do not have a variety of vegetables in your refrigerator, you can add canned or frozen vegetables to make your soup more interesting.

If there are certain vegetables your family doesn’t care for as much, puree them before adding them to the soup, and they will get the benefits of the vegetables without seeing or tasting them very much, if at all.

How is that for using up leftovers instead of allowing them to spoil?

Oh, and if you have too much soup to eat at once sitting, use it the next day for leftover or freeze it for those times when you need a quick meal!

3.  Use ripe produce to make a huge salad. 

Salads are delicious, especially this time of year when much delicious produce is in season.  If you want a quick meal, you can use ripe produce to make a fruit salad, a vegetable salad, or both!  To make a vegetable salad a meal, just add a chopped boiled egg and/or some chicken on top.

Our family loves eating salads, and though most of my salads are “plain,” they are delicious and healthy.  (Food does not need to be the one or the other but can be both!)

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How do you use up ripe produce to avoid wasting it?  Please share your tips in the comments below!