Farmers Market Farmers Market

Published on July 9th, 2013 | by Guest Contributor

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Visit your Farmers Market for a Plant-Powered your Diet (+ Strawberry Salad Recipe!)





by Sharon Palmer, RD

Farmers Market

I am so excited to announce that I am launching my second 14-Day Go Plant-Power! Challenge to inspire and motivate the public to improve their health by moving towards a more whole foods, plant-based diet.

Whether you’re a vegan, hard-core carnivore or anywhere in-between, everyone can benefit from eating more whole plant foods. It all starts with a change in mindset. A plant-based diet is really more about what you can eat, rather than what you can’t eat. When you focus on animal foods at every meal, your choices are limited to the basic beef, pork, chicken, or seafood selection. But when you plan your meals around plant foods, the sky’s the limit!

I encourage you to start by visiting your local farmers market; there’s really no better place to see all that plant-powered eating has to offer. A visit to the farmers market is truly a joy for all the senses – a kaleidoscope of vibrant colors, a mélange of earthy aromas, and intoxicating flavors straight from the farm await you. Not only that, when you choose to shop at your farmer’s market and choose to center your diet primarily on whole plant foods, you put your eating style in rhythm with the seasons throughout the year. Doesn’t it just seem fitting that root vegetables, including sweet potatoes and a variety of winter squashes are in season during the colder months when they are the perfect addition to a soup or stew? And aren’t freshly picked strawberries or a slice of a ripe watermelon the most refreshing summertime snack? When you shop at your local farmers market and embrace plant-powered eating, you are really are benefiting from the most nutritious seasonal food on the planet.

If I haven’t convinced you yet, here are three other reasons why shopping at your local farmers market is one of the best ways to plant-power your life.

1. It’s better for you.

Buying fresh foods, picked at the peak of their season equates to buying foods when their nutrients are at their peak. When you purchase in-season produce, picked just a few hours prior to being eaten, you are rewarding your body with a flood of phytochemicals, antioxidants, minerals and vitamins.

2. It’s better for the environment.

When you purchase food from a nearby farmer rather than from across the country or even the world, you’re helping to conserve Mother Earth’s precious natural resources, such as water and fossil fuels.

3. It teaches you plant-powered cooking skills.

Farmers markets encourage you to step outside of your cooking comfort zone. Not sure what to do with radishes? Need a new recipe for kale?  By simply purchasing what’s in season, you’ll learn to prepare a variety of foods and dishes, no matter what time of year. Plus, you can engage in a conversation with your local farmer and ask about different food preparation and storage tips.

For even more information on powering up your diet with plant foods, you can join my 14-day Go Plant Power Challenge, staring on August 5th. Join by simply clicking “LIKE” on the Go Plant Power Facebook Page which will host the 14 days of alerts with recipes and other helpful tips. By the end of the 14th day, you will possess the tools to change your diet and health for the better.

Strawberry Salad with Mache, Brazil Nuts and Balsamic Vinaigrette

strawberry saladMakes 4 servings (about 1 1/2 cups each)

Tender mache lettuce is the backdrop for this fruity salad that offers yet another way to highlight luscious strawberries—rich in sweet flavor and antioxidants—during their spring through summer harvest.  This colorful salad is pretty enough for a buffet or holiday meal, yet it can also grace your lunch box or dinner table just as easily.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups packed mache greens
  • 1 1/2 cups sliced fresh strawberries
  • 2 tablespoons sliced red onion
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped Brazil nuts

Method

  1. In a large salad bowl, combine mache, fresh strawberries, red onion, and fresh basil.
  2. In a small dish, whisk together blueberry juice, balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, and black pepper.
  3. Toss the salad with the dressing. Garnish the salad with Brazil nuts and serve it immediately.

Note: Mache, also called lamb’s lettuce, is grown in California and may be available at many supermarkets.  If you can’t find it in your supermarket, substitute any other tender lettuce green, such as butter lettuce of mesclun mixed greens.  

Nutrition Information per Serving:

  • Calories: 87
  • Fat:  7 g
  • Saturated Fat: 1 g
  • Sodium:  4 mg
  • Carbohydrate:  7 g
  • Fiber:  2 g
  • Protein:  2 g

Sharon PalmerSharon Palmer is a registered dietitian, writer and author of The Plant-Powered Diet. Over 750 of her articles have been published in national publications, including Prevention, Better Homes and Gardens and Today’s Dietitian. She is also the editor of the award-winning publication Environmental Nutrition and writes for her blog, The Plant-Powered Dietitian™. Sharon makes her home with her husband and two sons in the chaparral hills overlooking Los Angeles.

[Image Credit: NatalieMaynor via flickr/CC]

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