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Eat Smart, Move More at Farmers Markets: Tomatoes



Authors as Published

Melissa Chase, Consumer Food Safety Program Manager, Food Science and Technology, Virginia Tech; Austin Brooks, Project Associate, Family Nutrition Program, Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise, Virginia Tech; Renee Boyer, Associate Professor, Extension Specialist, Food Science and Technology, Virginia Tech; Carlin Rafie, Assistant Professor, Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise, Virginia Tech; Anne-Carter Carrington, Central District Coordinator, EFNEP/SCNEP

Key Points

  • A good source of vitamin A and rich in vitamin C, tomatoes are also high in lycopene. Contain carotenoids that may be good for health.
  • Choose tomatoes with bright, shiny skins and firm flesh.
  • Wash hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds before and after handling fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Store at room temperature away from direct sunlight and use within one week after ripe. Tomatoes taste best if they are not refrigerated; refrigerate only if you cannot use them before they spoil.

Marinated Tomatoes

Number of servings: 6


5 large tomatoes, chopped
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning


  • Place diced tomatoes in medium bowl.
  • In a small bowl, add canola oil, lemon juice, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning. Mix well and pour over tomatoes.
  • Chill thoroughly, gently stirring once or twice.

Per serving: 43 calories; 3 g fat (trace saturated fat); 1 g protein; 5 g carbohydrate; 1 g dietary fiber; 0 mg cholesterol; 187 mg sodium.

Balsamic Tomatoes and Onion Salad

Number of servings: 6


5 tomatoes, red-ripe, chopped
1 red onion, chopped
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
Small loaf of whole-wheat bread (optional)


  • In a bowl, mix tomatoes and onions.
  • Add canola oil and balsamic vinegar to the tomatoes and stir to mix ingredients together.
  • Let stand for 5 minutes before serving, or refrigerate, covered, for up to 3 days.
  • Eat with whole-wheat bread, if desired. Dip the bread in the marinade when finished with the tomatoes.

Per serving:  188 calories; 7 g fat (1 g saturated fat); 6 g protein; 29 g carbohydrate; 5 g dietary fiber; 0 mg cholesterol; 256 mg sodium.

Quick Tips

  • Stuff a tomato with low-fat cottage cheese or with tuna, shrimp, or chicken salad. Use the tomato pulp as part of the salad.
  • Wash thoroughly by rinsing under running tap water before peeling, cutting, or eating. Do not wash until ready to eat.
  • Slice ripened, fresh tomatoes and use to top your pizza.
  • Fun fact for kids: Tomatoes are botanically a fruit, but we usually eat them like vegetables unless they are the small, sweet kind. Let children choose the type of tomato to serve for dinner or in a salad.

This institution is an equal opportunity provider. In accordance with Federal law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, disability, and reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) This material was partially funded by USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – SNAP – and the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP). SNAP is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service and the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA/NIFA).

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Publication Date

February 8, 2021