Eating fresh fruits and vegetables is a big part of maintaining a healthy weight; and when that produce is fresh, delicious, and exciting, it’s easier to stick to your healthy lifestyle. But if eating more healthfully is new to you and you don’t know much about produce, shopping can be daunting (and expensive!), so here’s how to kick your diet up a notch and save money at the same time by choosing fresh local produce:
Do you know when strawberries are in season? Apples? Zucchini? Sweet potatoes? It can be hard to know for sure because the grocery stores in most areas have all types of produce available year-round. Food is shipped around the world so we all have a variety to choose from when we decide what to make for dinner.
A simple way to eat healthfully and save money at the same time is to eat locally grown, seasonal produce. Seasonal produce is less expensive because the food grows naturally during that season and doesn’t need to be grown indoors or shipped long distances from other climates.
Seasonal, local produce is not only fresher, healthier, and lasts longer in your fridge– the flavors are also at their absolute peak, so it’s a yummy way to liven up your diet. Now you can ditch the steam bag of broccoli every now and then, and try something new and delicious each season.
If you don’t know how to spot a seasonal fruit or vegetable, visit your local farmers market and see what they have for sale. Don’t know if there is a farmers market located near you? Visit localharvest.org and they’ll tell you when and where you can find one.
When you visit your local farmers market, ask them where they grow their food and when they harvested the produce you are going to buy. In many areas of the country winter shuts down farmers markets, so find out if vendors at your local farmers market sell food year-round. This way you’ll be getting the most nutrient-dense foods available in your area. When you buy from a local vendor you also have the satisfaction of knowing that you are supporting a local small business and that your money will stay right in your city or town.
Local produce will vary slightly depending upon the region, but here’s a look at the general seasonal produce calendar for the United States. With each of the four seasons comes a different crop of delicious fruits and vegetables to spice up your diet!