veggie of the month - tomatoes

September Vegetable of the Month: Tomatoes

Live Well Sioux Falls and the Sioux Falls Food Council is proud to present the Eat Well, Live Well campaign! Each month this campaign will highlight a new fruit or vegetable.

The September Vegetable of the Month is Tomatoes!

This fruit is amazing…wait, fruit? That’s right, tomatoes are technically a fruit but most people associate with vegetables because of their hearty flavor which makes it the vegetable of the month. Remember whether its a fruit or vegetable, its good for you! Aim for 5 fruits and vegetables each day!

Did you know…
  • Tomatoes are chocked full of essential vitamins C, A, and B6, along with iron, potassium, manganese and fiber.
  • One cup of canned tomatoes contains only 41 calories and no fat.
  • Tomatoes are rich in powerful antioxidants called carotenoids that protect against certain types of cancers and slow the development of atherosclerosis (plaque associated with hardening of arteries).
  • The most abundant type of carotenoid found in tomatoes is lycopene. Foods high in lycopene may help to reduce the risk for prostate, digestive, and pancreatic cancers. Tomato products are responsible for more than 80% of the lycopene in the U.S. diet.
  • Tomato products also fight inflammation associated with chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease.
  • Check out these videos for helpful tips on tomato selection, storage and prep.
9 Ways to Enjoy Tomatoes:
  1. A Healthy Tomato Vinaigrette. In a blender combine a chopped tomato, 2 Tablespoons of vinegar (white wine or balsamic), 1 Tablespoon olive oil, ½ teaspoon dijon mustard and your favorite herbs (basil, thyme, etc). Enjoy!
  2.  Quick Tomato Salad. Quarter tomatoes and marinate with onion in your favorite low-fat vinaigrette. Add some sliced cucumber for some extra crunch.
  3.  Stuffed Tomato. Stuff a tomato with low-fat cottage cheese or with tuna, shrimp or chicken salad. Use the pulp as part of the salad.
  4.  Stewed Tomato Side Dish. Saute 1 small diced onion in 1 Tablespoon olive oil. Mix in dried or chopped fresh basil and a dash of salt and pepper. Add coarsely chopped, peeled tomatoes (about 6) and simmer for 5 minutes.
  5.  A Tangy Salsa. Make it yourself with chopped fresh tomatoes, finely chopped jalapeno peppers, chopped cucumber, 1 small onion, chopped cilantro and lime juice. Can also be used on top of greens or as a salad by itself. Be creative and add other ingredients such as black beans, corn or chopped olives.
  6.  Baked Tomato Side Dish. Slice tomatoes about ½ inch thick. Sprinkle with seasoned breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese. Bake at 350 until tomatoes are almost soft.
  7.  Gazpacho. Finely dice fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, green onion, and green and/or red peppers. Add to tomato juice with 1-2 teaspoons of olive oil and a splash of cider vinegar. Ingredients can be added to a blender and pulsed one or two times.
  8.  Beyond Tomato Sauce. Slice fresh tomatoes and top your pizza.
  9.  Fresh and Sweet. Right off the vine!

The featured Sioux Falls restaurant this month is the Inca Mexican Restaurant. Learn more about tomatoes and get their Fresh Tomato Salsa recipe with this Pick It! Try It! Like It! fact sheet.

Don’t stop there! Find ways to promote tomatoes at your work, school, childcare and in your community!

Sources: Eat Well, Live Well Campaign, Fruits & Veggies More Matters, & Penn State Extension