TIP OF THE WEEK
It’s the same story every year — kids return to school, temperatures drop, summer vacation becomes a fading memory and the local farmers market closes. While you may spend winter longing for the return of 80-degree days and sunny skies, you don’t have to miss out on your favorite fruits and veggies. Many are still available in local grocery stores and some smart tricks and choices can help you eat like the farmers market is still open ... all winter long.
“The seasonal nature of farmers markets doesn’t have to keep you from reaping the benefits of fresh and locally grown produce,” says registered dietitian Paul Kriegler, assistant program manager for nutrition and weight loss at Life Time - The Healthy Way of Life Company. “The average store carries more than 45,000 different foods, so it’s important to know what to buy and what to avoid.”
To eat as if the farmers market is still in session, keep these tips in mind on your next visit to the grocery store:
* Plan meals and menus for the week and make your shopping list accordingly. If you stick to your list, it will help you avoid impulse purchases.
* Keep kids involved. If your children loved visiting the farmers market and learning how to eat healthy, there’s no reason you can’t continue their education in the grocery store. Take them shopping with you and give them a small budget so they can pick their own produce. Encourage them to pick fruits and vegetables from every color of the rainbow.
* It’s not just folklore — if you shop while hungry, you’re more likely to make poor choices. “When you’re hungry, anything looks good, and junk looks even more appealing,” Kriegler cautions. “Have a healthful snack like a handful of nuts or a piece of fruit before you shop.”
* Your diet should consist of mostly fruits and vegetables, so make the produce aisle the first stop when you visit the grocery store. If you fill your cart with more produce, you’ll have less room for less healthful choices.
* Shop from the outer aisles, where you’re most likely to find whole, unprocessed foods - like fresh produce. Inner aisle have more processed foods.
* Don’t be afraid to try new things. As the seasons turn, new and unexpected items may appear in produce aisles. Varieties of squash begin appearing in September and staying through March, as well as turnips, rutabagas, carrots and other cool weather favorites. An online search can help you find new recipes for virtually any type of unfamiliar produce. Experimenting with new veggies and fruits can be exciting and nutritious!
* Take advantage of store resources. Many grocery stores now include signage in the produce aisle that tells you where different items originated, how you might use them, flavor and nutrition - even recipes. If your grocery store offers free recipe cards beside a new vegetable, give both a try.
* Whenever possible, buy organic. “I commonly hear the question, is organic really necessary,” Kriegler says. “Your first goal is to increase the amount of fruits and vegetables your family eats, but once you’re doing that it’s important to choose organic produce. It will help you avoid toxins, herbicides and pesticides in your food that could affect your metabolism and cause other health problems.”
* If you must buy prepackaged and labeled foods, read the ingredient list first. If it’s full of unrecognizable or unhealthy ingredients, put it back on the shelf and look for a better alternative.
EASY RECIPE: Cinnamon Oatmeal Bars
1 cup flour
1 cup old-fashioned oatmeal
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup Musselman’s Apple Butter
Heat oven to 350 F. Coat 8-by-8-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Line with heavy-duty foil, letting it overhang on two sides then coat with spray.
Mix flour, oatmeal, sugar and salt in medium bowl. Stir in butter with a fork until clumps form, then spread half the mixture into pan, pressing to form a thin crust. Spread apple butter over it, then sprinkle remaining oatmeal mixture on top.
Bake until crisp and golden brown, 30-40 minutes. Cool to room temperature. Use foil “handles” to remove bars. Cut into squares and serve.
— Family Features
NUMBER TO KNOW
8,490: As of October 8, the USDA’s farmers market directory (ams.usda.gov/local-food-directories/farmersmarkets) lists 8,390 farmers markets throughout the United States. About 2,758 of them are open during the winter. — More Content Now
The United State produces what percent of the world’s cheese?
A. 50 percent
B. 40 percent
C. 30 percent
D. 20 percent
Answer at bottom of column.
WORD TO THE WISE
Eau de vie - French for “water of life” (otherwise known by its Latin name aqua vitae). The life-giving water the name refers to is the alcoholic variety, in particular a group of colorless, unsweetened spirits distilled from fruits or herbs.
THE DISH ON…
‘The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Dinnertime: Comfort Classics, Freezer Food, 16-Minute Meals, and Other Delicious Ways to Solve Supper!’ by Ree Drummond
Best selling author and Food Network star Ree Drummond has created a cookbook with a goal: to make it easy for busy families to make simple, scrumptious, homemade meals with minimum fuss and maximum enjoyment. Her easy-to-make recipes range from comfort classics, salads and 16-minute meals, to freezer-friendly food and a favorite of her own family: breakfast for dinner. You’ll find more than 125 fast-and-delicious recipes that combine pantry staples with fresh ingredients and are presented via Drummond’s signature step-by-step photos, relatable humor and folksy charm.
— William Morrow Cookbooks
FOOD QUIZ ANSWER
C. According to 2013 USDA data, the U.S. produces about 30 percent of the world’s cheese.
— More Content Now
Food for Thought: Find fresh food without the farmers market
TIP OF THE WEEK