By Jessica Pate
Want to stay healthy to be able to enjoy life to the fullest? By prioritizing produce in your diet, you will be on your way. Produce is full of vitamins and antioxidants, it helps ward off a variety of undesirable ailments
(read more from Harvard School of Public Health
), plus it is visually appealing and delicious.
Here are some tips to get you on your way:
*Make your plate rainbow. A visually intriguing plate is more exciting to eat, and colors often indicate different vitamins in your food. For example, pumpkin, carrots and sweet potatoes are all rich in vitamin A and get their orange color from the beta-carotene
*Read up on the seasons and try eating accordingly. I’ve made a big effort the last two years to eat fruits and veggies when they are in season, and not only have I come to love some new things like butternut squash, kale and cucumbers, but I also love tasting things things when they are naturally most delicious. I usually save money by eating this way as well! Start by choosing just a few seasonal items, and add more as you are ready.
*Go to the farmers’ market. There’s nothing like wandering through a beautiful market filled with local, seasonal fruits, veggies and plants to get you ready to eat well. Support your local economy, find fresher produce and try new things based on recommendations from real-life experts. For inspiration, ask the people selling what their favorite recipe is at the moment. Bonus: the people-watching is excellent!
*Choose portable fruits and veggies as on-the-go snacks. Fruit is the original convenience food, with many types coming in their own biodegradable “wrapper.” Whenever I have produce on my desk or in the fridge at work, I am better able to avoid the ever-prevalent pastries at the office and choose to indulge in sweets only when I really want to.
*Use Pinterest (we do!)
. There are great charts of seasonal produce, infographics to remind you of the dirty dozen and clean fifteen, and recipes for any produce item that you might have on-hand, not to mention beautiful photos. I have found some of my favorite recipes on Pinterest, and I always know where to go to find them again.
*Buy a community-supported agriculture share to get a steady supply of delicious produce while supporting local agriculture. Or, plant some of your own seeds and enjoy the fruits of your labor in a few months.
*Ice cream is certainly a delicious way to end your meal, but so is berry crisp, citrus salad, a smoothie or rhubarb pie (Check out our pinned recipes)
. Get creative and include produce in your dessert for a healthier sweet grand finale.