Find out the latest health and organic news from our resident dietitian, Rebecca, along with recipes, tips and more!
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As the weather gets warmer and the days get longer many people are looking for ways to freshen up their diet. This is the time of year that we can easily switch from the winter comfort foods to the wide variety of springtime fruits and vegetables. In-season produce is not only more cost effective it also packs the biggest nutritional punch. Eating seasonal is important and it can carry many health benefits.
Eating “seasonally” means consuming foods that are being grown and then harvested during the same time of year when consumers are purchasing and cooking them. In the past this happened naturally, but with the advent of global transportation we have access to most produce year round. Therefore, the movement of eating local in-season food requires consumers to be more conscience when choosing produce.
Here are a few examples of what to look for, during the Spring time, in the produce section or your farmers market: sugar snap peas, strawberries, asparagus, radishes, rhubarb and morel mushrooms just to name a few. Many of these foods can be teamed together in a salad or side dish to provide the best tasting, highest quality food available.
I first heard the phrase “clean eating” about a year ago at my local CrossFit gym. I immediately liked the term. It was a concise way of saying that someone wanted to consume whole, unprocessed, straight from nature foods. This is by no means a new concept, but I love that this phrase “clean eating” is circulating around the health conscious community. It’s helping to energize and give focus to the next generation of educated consumers.
Clean eaters strive to daily incorporate vegetables, fruit, whole grains, healthy proteins and fats. They also strive to limit refined grains, trans fats, added sugars and colorings/dyes added to packaged food. Consuming clean foods is not a diet trend, it’s more of a philosophy of meal planning. It doesn’t revolve around consuming more or less of a specific food group. Clean eating simply challenges consumers to pick more farm fresh foods, and when purchasing packaged items reading the ingredient list.
When adapting a clean eating lifestyle strive to incorporate plant based foods at every meal and snack. When shopping for foods located in the main aisles of your store simply look at the ingredient list to ensure that it’s relatively short and free of unidentifiable additives. Purchasing foods with the certified organic label is a great way to ensure you’re staying clear of artificial coloring and flavors. Clean eating can be a rewarding way to simplify your meal preparation and enjoy more of what nature has to offer.
A new dilemma has arisen for consumers at most local grocery stores. Is it better to choose organic or traditionally grown food products? In years past, organic foods were only found at health food stores or farmers markets. Now you can find them lining the shelves next to many family staples. From canned goods to diary products, organic food is now readily available. Which brings the average consumers to question – should I buy organic?
By picking organic products, one can reduce exposure to chemicals and genetically modified organisms (GMO). Organic regulations ban or restrict food additives, artificial sweeteners, colorings and flavor enhancers. Some consumers choose organic simply for taste and environmental reasons. Organic farming practices aim to reduce pollution, conserve water and improve soil quality.
Many factors can influence ones decision to choose organic but the most common concern is cost. Organic foods often cost slightly more than their traditional counterparts. This is largely due to more expensive farming practices. Whether you go 100% organic or mix conventional foods with some organic, it’s good to keep these two food principals in mind:
1. Buy local in-season fruit and vegetables whenever possible
2. Read food labels to ensure your products are moderate in calories, carbohydrates, sugar and sodium