Love Those Summer Fruits & Veggies
We all live for convenience especially when it comes to food and our health. Just like the myth that healthy eating is expensive, many people believe that buying in-season fruits and vegetables is just too much hassle. After all, the big chain grocery stores don’t exactly tell you what is or is not in season.
So, where do you start? How do you know what fruits and vegetables are in season? Where is the best place to buy the freshest produce? And how do you prepare fruits and vegetables after you buy them?
Where to Buy Seasonal Produce
The first step in eating seasonally can be as simple as going to your local farmer’s market. But if you’re not sure why you should give up your weekend mornings in search of fresh, seasonal fruits and veggies, here are some reasons why it is beneficial.
Nutrition! Plants get nourishment from the sun and soil. Seasonally fresh produce is picked when ripe and fully developed. The plant has had more sun exposure, which means it will have higher levels of antioxidants. Flavor! Freshly picked produce that has been allowed to fully ripen in the sun taste amazing – crispy, fragrant, juicy and colorful. Those summer heirloom tomatoes make all other tomatoes seem inferior. You can eat it like an apple; raw, warm from the sun and straight from the vine. Environment! Seasonal produce can grow without too much added human assistance (i.e. pesticides and genetic modification.) We know how these toxic compounds can contaminate the water, soil and also our health. Seasonal food is more likely to be locally produced, which reduces the load on our environment due to transport, or “food mileage”. Community! Getting to know where your food is coming from, who is growing your food and how they do it also makes you feel more connected to that whole process. Together, we are more powerful and can facilitate big change.
The next step in eating seasonally is finding the farmers markets! Lucky for us there are some great resources that already have that information listed for us. Visit Connecticut (www.visitConnecticut.com) has a fantastic website that lists farmer’s markets in the state that offer fresh, locally grown food. Another great site is the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Connecticut (www.ctnofa.org/FarmersMarkets.htm), they have a list of farmer’s markets around the state that are separated by county. Both websites list times and locations for each of the farmer’s markets.
What Fruits & Vegetables are in Season
There are some fruits and vegetables that are in season all-year round like apples, avocados, bananas, carrots, and lettuce to name a few popular options. Now that it is summer there are specific produce that come into season like all berries, corn, cherries, cucumbers, eggplant, tomatoes & juicy watermelon. To find out what other produce you can buy fresh simply visit the Fruits and Veggies More Matters website and look under “What’s in Season?”. This website contains a fruit/veggie database in which you can learn how to select and store specific produce and the nutritional info. Educational videos are also provided on how to select and store certain produce.
How to Prepare Fresh Fruits and Veggies
There are many ways to prepare fruits and vegetables, below we will discuss some of the healthiest options. Baking! Try slicing some peaches in half, drizzle on some honey and sprinkle with ginger, cinnamon and pecans for a sweet snack! Boil! Apples with lemon juice and cinnamon, mash up and serve warm or chilled. Steam! Try adding your favorite vegetables with citrus juice and zest added to the water to create bold, new flavors; such as grapefruit with carrots. Grill! Peel corn-on-the-cob and coat with a mix of seasonings such as oregano, pepper, onion and chili powder and salt with a touch of butter to help it stick. Wrap in aluminum foil and grill under tender, your taste buds with enjoy that treat!
Eating a diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables has been linked to improved health, and for good reason. Vegetables and fruits are loaded with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants, which have been shown to protect against chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer. They are also low in calories, making them a great choice for your waistline. Choosing a colorful assortment of fruits and vegetables is best, as different benefits exist in the different color spectrum.
Submitted by Nicole Carlone, MS, CHC, CPT-NASM. To schedule an appointment at Bordeaux Nutrition LLC, please contact us at 860-757-3474 or: firstname.lastname@example.org