Besides all the good you’d be doing for your local farmers, the nation’s food industry, and good old Planet Earth, shopping at your local farmers’ markets is a great way to revamp your struggling diet. Eating seasonal produce keeps your focus on vegetables instead of meats and carbs—not to say that you can’t get both from the market or that your body doesn’t need them.
Grocery shopping at your local farmers’ market has the following perks for your body:
- Eating locally raised and harvested food means cooking your own food, which gives you greater control over what goes into your body. Plus, cooking ends up saving you lots of cash.
- Most of the stuff you’ll find at farmers’ market is produce. Planning your meals around what’s seasonal at the market allows you to make veggie-focused dishes, meaning lower calories and more nutrition in most cases.
- If you’re into the organic revolution, you get to talk to farmers personally and inquire about their farming methods. Shopping organic at Whole Foods could mean getting your supposedly organic blueberries from Peru, where workers are underprivileged, underpaid, and it probably isn’t organic at all. If you want fewer pesticides in your body, shop local.
To get you started, here’s a short list of what you can find at most farmers’ markets this time of year as well as recipes that call for that specific vegetable (courtesy of The Daily Green). Remember that these are only the year-round produce; just wait until spring when the farmers come out like weeds with their truckloads of goods.
Everyone knows that carrots are good for your eyes, but their Vitamin A is also great for your bones and teeth. They’re rich in beta carotene, which may reduce heart disease and certain types of cancer. Check out The Daily Green’s curry carrot soup with wasabi cream. http://www.thedailygreen.com/healthy-eating/recipes/1735
Here’s another veggie that’s high in vitamin A—1,096 mg in one medium potato (your daily intake recommendation is between 700 and 900, so you’re good to go!). Try cooking up some spiced sweet potatoes next time you get back from the market. http://www.thedailygreen.com/healthy-eating/cookbook/spiced-sweet-potatoes-44021908
Popeye wasn’t kidding—spinach packs a punch. It’s high in vitamin C, K, and A; magnesium; folate; manganese; iron; calcium; potassium; and vitamin B2 and B6. It’s not a bad source of protein for you weight lifters, or zinc, dietary fiber, and copper. You’ll even find some omega-3 fatty acids in there. That’s a mouthful. Try the creamy rigatoni with spinach. http://www.thedailygreen.com/healthy-eating/recipes/339?click=main_sr
Whether raw or cooked, cabbage is another superfood high in fiber. It has lots of vitamins (A, various Bs, C, and K), omega-3s, and calcium. Eating cabbage semi-regularly could mean a healthy digestive tract, prevention of certain cancers including prostate and colon while minimizing cardiovascular complications. Try this Asian coleslaw dish for the added benefits of uncooked cabbage:
This green machine contains lots of phytochemical antioxidants in the carotenoid family, which help out your eyes, and plenty of beta-carotene to fortify your immune system so you don’t catch the flu this year. Broccoli has also proven to contain more calcium than dairy products to help out your bones. Try the polenta with broccoli and pecorino here: http://www.thedailygreen.com/healthy-eating/recipes/polenta-broccoli-pecorino?click=main_sr
Bio: Maria Rainier is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident blogger at First in Education, where she’s been looking into gender wage gap statistics to see if it can be explained through women choosing lower paying degrees and men choosing higher paying degrees. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.