Vegetables and fruits need to be a mainstay of your diet. In fact, the guidelines now suggest that you should not only eat at least five 1/2 cup servings of veggies and fruits a day, but also produce with lots of variety and colors are important as well.
There are amazing little phytochemicals and phytonutrients that live in the cell walls of vegetables and fruits, and each one is responsible for your overall health in different ways.
The Best 5 Ways to Get Fresh Produce – Local & Organic
So, while eating lots of green veggies will enhance your health, I don’t recommend just eating broccoli. The human body needs complementary but equally important phytochemicals found in the red, green, orange, light and dark veggies and fruits as well. Many of my clients bemoan the fact that produce tends to be pricey in their local supermarkets and the quality isn’t that great to boot!
Whenever possible, I tell my clients to get local, organic and fresh produce and then help them find beautiful and unique ways to eat them! If you’re looking for suggestions on how to get wonderful produce without compromising quality or breaking the bank, consider the five strategies below.
1. Grow a Garden
While this may seem intimidating at first, it is an excellent way for you to drive the ship in terms of quality and abundance. You can start small by growing herbs on your counter and then expand your garden by buying raised 4×4 beds at Home Depot.
Some easy veggies to start trying that are great for growing your confidence with gardening are tomatoes, cucumbers and basil. You’ve got a salad just waiting for you from your own backyard!
2. Join a CSA
Have you head of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)?
The concept is this: A local farmer sells “shares” of his farm to individuals. People who sign up to purchase a share can head to the local farm and usually will be able to pick as much as they want of certain seasonal vegetables and fruits to put in a box to take home for the week. It’s a brilliant concept and aims to benefit both the farmer and the consumer.
I even joined a CSA that delivered weekly to various gym and yoga facilities. This was amazing because after sweating it up in hot yoga I got to extend the healthy behavior and feeling I was having by taking home my fresh box of goodies for the week.
3. Head to a Farmer’s Market
The beautiful thing about Farmer’s Markets is that it not only allows you to purchase a huge array of fresh produce from various local farms in the area, but it often has myriad other goodies as well such as cheese, fresh sustainably and ethically raised meats, breads and the like.
There is also often a community feel to Farmers Markets, which makes the whole experience so incredibly pleasant. There is often music playing, face painting for the kids or other concurrent events that happen in and around the Farmers Market. I highly recommend them. Here is a site to help you find a Farmers Market near you.
4. Freeze your Best Fruits & Veggies Grown in your Garden for Next Season
Many of my clients tell me they tend to eat fewer veggies and fruits in the winter simply because the ones they love are not available or in season – they are extremely costly or are traveling great distances just to get to their plate.
One way to have what you want, when you want, is to freeze your fruits and veggies. I have done this with strawberries, blueberries, corn and even asparagus and summer squash. The quality stays intact and you can often just add them to smoothies and even soups and stews.
5. Have the Produce Delivered to your Home
Here in the Boston area there is this fabulous produce wonderland called Russo’s. Much to my delight they started delivering a few months ago. This was key for me because I can always depend on them for amazing veggies and fruits with lots of variety and at an amazing cost.
It’s very out of my way and with a full-time job and 3 kids I rarely made it over there. Now, it’s within my reach weekly because of delivery. This system is becoming more and more popular as Americans get busier and busier. Services like Peapod, Instacart, and Cart fresh are popping up everywhere and can be something that you can take advantage of as well!
Get a Healthy Pantry Checklist!
So, over to you. Which one of these veggie/fruit haven strategies would you like to sample this year? Sound off below in the comments section.
By the way, if you’d like a copy of my FREE Healthy Pantry Essential Checklist, please click here to grab it.
About the Author – Jenny Berk, MSEd
Jenny is the founder and owner of Jenny Eden Coaching – a coaching practice devoted to help men, women and teens create a more healthy and sustainable relationship with food and their body image. She is an Eating Psychology Coach, a mindful eating instructor and health and wellness blogger.
She specializes in gentle weight loss, unique binge eating cessation techniques and mindful eating practices.
Jenny received her Masters from the University of Pennsylvania in Psychological Services from the School of Education. She earned her certificate from the Institute for the Psychology of Eating in 2015 and her MB-Eat certificate in 2016.