Nutrition highlight: Kiwi and food waste talk

The kiwi is one pretty fruit. It photographs so well!

Would be aesthetic addition to a potluck dish!

It also reminds me of the rad neon green eyeliner I thought was all the rage in high school (srrrrsly, not good judgment there!).

So I bought a whole bucket of kiwi last week, and I needed to get creative in order to use it all up.  Food waste has become a big issue in this country, so I didn’t want to contribute to this stinky problem. According to a report by UNEP and the World Resources Institute (WRI), 30-40% of the food in America’s food supply is just dumped into landfills yearly. That is ~1 in 3 calories!

Can you imagine how many mouths we could feed with this forgotten grub? About 14% of American households are food insecure and with that many of us being unable to afford the food that we need, there is a GINORMOUS need for more awareness. We need to pay more attention to the calories we freely lop into the work cafeteria’s trash can or mindlessly shove in the back of the fridge, never to be thought of again until we find our spouses uttering, “What in the *$%# is that smell?!” while wandering around the living room. Oy.

Here are some ways we can decrease excess old food in our landfills. Why is this a huge deal? As we know, food rots. But when this happens, it releases methane, a “potent greenhouse gas”, according to the EPA, and this damages the atmosphere and furthers climate change (eek).

Yea, eek.

So back to why we should buy kiwi and how we should use those bad boys.

Kiwi is an excellante source of vitamin C, which acts as a major rejuvenator to vitamin E, the strongest antioxidant in the human body. We often don’t get enough vitamin C in our diet, and diets low in antioxidants contribute greatly to premature aging. So time to nosh on some fruit!

One 3.5 oz portion of kiwi was only 61 calories, is basically fat and sodium free, offers a good amount of fiber, and about 163% of your daily value of vitamin C- that’s more than a medium orange or a serving of strawberries. It also is a great source of magnesium and potassium which helps decrease the likelihood of muscle cramps and high blood pressure.

To get the right kiwi- with a sweet, full flavor- choose a kiwi that yields to gentle pressure when squeezed. Unripened kiwi will have a harder core and the flavor will be more astringent. To store, leave unripened kiwis at room temperature and then toss them (ok, not really- just gently set them) in the fridge when they are soft. They will keep for about one to two weeks.

When I first ate a kiwi in high school, back when I didn’t know much about cooking, nutrition or food in general except that I liked to eat it often and mostly from fast food joints, I once attempted to eat a kiwi like an apple. Hair and all.

I like a man with a hairy chest, but kiwi hair is no bueno. Make sure we peel the little guy. We can use a vegetable peeler or a sharp pairing knife, cutting off the ends first, or we can cut it in half and eat with a spoon. Yum! It is super refreshing to eat this way as a post-workout treat to replenish your glycogen stores and electrolytes.

Kiwi can also be used as a meat tenderizer because of the enzyme actinidin which helps break down meat proteins similar to the way lemon and lime juice or vinegars do. Tenderizing meat before grilling or cooking at high temps can decrease the amount of heterocyclic amines by 90% which rocks because these heat- activated amines increase risk of cancers-particularly prostate cancer. They like to build up in the prostate and create all sorts of trouble. So men, make sure to use a marinade! Simply blend the kiwi and let it sit in the marinade for 30 minutes before cooking or cut it in half and rub the kiwi on if you don’t want to incorporate the kiwi taste into the meat.

So how did I use my kiwi? A couple fun ways:

  1. I love a good breakfast smoothie. I added  1 tbsp. cocoa powder, 1/4 cup frozen dark cherries, 1/2 cup soy milk, and 1 tbsp chia seeds to two cut up kiwis and ice which created a terrific and sweet (but not too sweet!) combo. I also tried a green smoothie with some spinach, scoop plant protein powder, 1 tbsp. hemp seeds, and 1/4 cup soy milk (I prefer soy to dairy milk any day). This was a very delightful detox drink for a busy Monday morning!
    Green Smoothie

    Chocolate Kiwi Smoothie
  2. One word: cereal. Hot, cold, hot and cold. Cut up kiwi cubes is a great way to add a fruit to breakfast. I chose to add it to my hot barley cereal with cocoa powder (yes, chocolate again- obsessed) which is sugar free and LOADED with antioxidants, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, maca root (an adaptogen which supports adrenal health), raisins (great vegan source of iron), and powdered peanut butter (less fat, only 50 kcals compared to 180 in regular PB). It was a heavenly treat and a great way to get energy for the day.
Chocolate Oatmeal with kiwi and raisins

3.   Add to wraps, salads, or grain bowls. Can you go wrong with a quinoa bowl or brown rice bowl? Kiwi has such a mild taste, that it really adds a bit of delightful and low calorie sweetness.

Give it a whirl. No time to waste (get it, waste? Bringing it back- hehe).

Have a bodacious day!



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