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Here is a picture of butternut squash soup (recipe posted below), oven roasted white & sweet potatoes, and raw vegetables with a dairy-free dip. The night I fixed this meal, I had very little time, so I heated up the soup, roasted the potatoes with their skins on, scooped out the pre-made dip, and grabbed some raw vegetables out of their Ziploc bags. Tada....a nutritious meal! And the kids loved it because of the presentation - some patterned wax paper, coconut milk, and a sprinkle of cinnamon really did the trick! I usually try to keep cut-up veggies on hand for moments like these.

It is wise to take some time at the kitchen counter once a week to cut up some vegetables so that you will always have last minute veggies for any meal or snack. Raw vegetables are nice and crunchy too, so when a craving for something like potato chips hits you, it'll be so easy to grab for something that is satisfying yet nutritious instead, because it'll be all ready for you.

Remember, a bag full of  celery, a pound of carrots, or a head of broccoli won't send an appetizing message to the brain when you or your children are searching the refrigerator in a ravenous state. So, plan ahead! When you are eating vegetables raw, it is worth paying a little bit extra to buy organic.... you can usually taste the difference, and if it tastes terrific you'll tend to WANT to eat it, which is an added bonus, right? :) And, organic foods contain something like 4 or 5 times the nutrients of non-organic! I guess that makes it cheaper to buy organic in the end!  ;)

Some vegetables keep better than others after they've been cut up and stored in the refrigerator in a Ziploc bag. I've done pretty well with the following:

Carrots last for a long time
Fennel - only cut the bottom to seperate the sections - the cuts turn brown
red, yellow, orange peppers - keep a paper towel in the bag - 3 days at most
cucumber - keep a paper towel in the bag - gets soggy on the 2nd day
snow peas - uncut - great snack!
mushrooms - sliced - great to add to salads
green beans
sprouts - as is - great for snacking and salads
grape/cherry tomatoes - keep them on the counter - never refrigerate tomatoes



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