In case you’ve been wondering, dear reader, when our next super-healthy topic would be posted, wonder no more. Today we bring you: produce! And it’s nearing that time of year to begin reaping the benefits of beautiful, delicious, seasonal fruits and vegetables. There’s something very satisfying about choosing fresh, ripe produce after a gray winter season. (Of course, if you’re reading this in Chile, scratch that last sentence and just hear us out.)
We won’t give a long lesson on the nutritional benefits of fruits and vegetables. Chances are, you’re likely familiar with that sage advice. Fruits and veggies are low in calories, and provide fiber, vitamins, minerals as well as a number of disease-fighting antioxidants. A colorful plate is more than just for aesthetics; it provides wonderful nutritional variety. Just in case you needed more reasons to increase your fruits and veggie intake, view this Top Ten List.
With nutritional information in hand, head out to a local farmers’ market for your pick of the freshest produce. If it’s grown locally, chances are it’s tastier because it traveled a shorter distance to reach your kitchen. No nearby farmers’ market? Try a produce stand, a “pick-your-own” farm, or small grocer. Check the selection of locally or regionally grown produce at your favorite grocery store. Many large chain grocers are carrying more local produce.
What to do with your delicious fresh produce? We’d love to hear some of your creative ideas. Here are several to get you started. Blend berries into a yogurt smoothie, enjoy cut-up fruit with cottage cheese, add peppers to pizza, and slice tomatoes for bruschetta. You can even toss some fresh spinach into a pasta dish. Check out this easy and delicious recipe for parsley/walnut pesto over baby spinach and fettuccine from Everyday Food Magazine.
The Agricultural Marketing Service of the USDA has a listing of farmers’ markets across the country. Find one in your area: http://apps.ams.usda.gov/FarmersMarkets/.
Whether your fruits and veggies come from near or far, the produce stand, the freezer or a can, remember: More Matters! Happy Eating!
How Stacey Got the Shot: Should I tell? OK, I will. Shot in the late afternoon in sunny Los Angeles, California, on my friend’s balcony. ISO 800 with the Nifty Fifty lens at f/4. Captured in 1/50 of a second.