Spring into this season by taking the I Eat Local Pledge! I’m all about promoting the importance of eating locally grown fresh produce in season as often as possible! Why? It’s best for your body and for the environment, too! There is an array of benefits you can gain by integrating seasonal foods such as fruits, vegetables and herbs in your healthy lifestyle. I hope to inspire you to support your local farmers or even start a garden of your own this year. Either way, make sure to get your kids and the whole family involved!
Benefits of Seasonal Produce:
- It’s a Natural Experience: Enjoy the earthy smells, connect with nature, and the pleasure of preparing, cooking and serving the wide varieties available through spring, summer and fall.
- Taste the Difference: Tired of biting into a strawberry that looks perfect but offers no flavor? What a letdown! If you stick to eating locally and seasonally, your taste buds will be forever grateful.
- Variety Cures Boredom: Eating seasonally automatically changes what’s on the menu – try new fruits and vegetables to make healthy cooking fun!
- Creative Know-How: Seasonal produce inspires your creative genius whether you eat these delicious foods raw or cooked – enjoy the process.
- Economically Sound: Support your local farmers. They work really hard to grow and harvest the highest quality produce for you and your family!
- Environmentally Friendly: Transporting the produce from far away places puts a toll on the environment. Plus, if you grow your own, you’re only a walk away.
- Feel-Good Feeling: Be proud and empower others to nurture themselves and the planet.
How does this affect your nutrition?
- Produce starts to lose vitamins and minerals as soon as it is harvested – so when food travels hundreds, even thousands of miles before arrived at your fork – a significant amount of nutrients are already lost!
See how your food shopping measures up…
- Gold Star: Grow your own!
- Silver Star: Joined a Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) or shop at Farmers’ Markets
- Bronze Star: Buy local ingredients from a retail store
- Needs Improvement : Standard retail food shopping (see below for the trip food makes to your table and try to cut some steps out.
It’s definitely the season to start a new food shopping routine! Visit Local Harvest to find the nearest CSA and/or farmers’ markets to fulfill your I Eat Local Pledge!
– Stacey Antine, MS, RDN, author, Appetite for Life, founder, HealthBarn USA, director, HealthBarn Foundation, and recognized as top 10 dietitians nationally by Today’s Dietitian magazine for her work with HealthBarn USA.