Farmers’ Market season is almost here. Most local markets run from June through early to mid October. Farmers’ markets are a great way to support local farmers and small businesses.
You can often find many specialty foods at farmers’ markets that you can’t get at the grocery store: locally-produced foods including meats, vegetables, fruits, and honey, fresh baked goods, specialty cheeses, and flowers.
If you haven’t visited your local farmers’ market before, take some time to do so this year, and support your neighbors.
Here is a list of Local Farmers’ Markets:
It’s time to get planting! Pick up some fresh herbs to plant and keep near the kitchen so you can snip and cook as needed. Keep them in pots as some like to spread and take over if allowed.
The following herbs are some of my favorites! They are hardy, flavorful, and will go with lots of delicious summer recipes.
Cilantro - Use fresh cilantro in tacos, fajitas, homemade salsas, corn and black bean salads.
Basil – Basil is delicious with tomatoes from your garden. Sprinkle on slices of tomato and fresh mozzarella, and drizzle with Balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Basil tastes great in most Italian dishes including homemade pizzas, pastas, and pasta salads.
Oregano – Oregano tastes great on homemade pizzas, pastas, and pasta salads. You can also sprinkle on roasted or sautéed vegetables.
Mint – I love mint. It tastes delicious in summer fruit salads with melon and berries. It also tastes great as a garnish on desserts with fruit or chocolate. I also like to put mint in grain-based salads like tabouleh.Mint leaves can also be used to add flavor to summer beverages and drinks.
With the summer season upon us, our choices of delicious, fresh, and local produce will grow. With all of the anti-carb hoopla out there, I hear many with impressions of “good” and “bad” fruits.
I am happy to tell you that there is no such thing as a bad fruit. All fruits are excellent sources of important vitamins, antioxidants, phytochemicals, and fiber. All fruits also contain carbohydrate, which provide our bodies with energy, and they are naturally fat-free and low in calories*. Each serving of fruit is about 60 calories, compared to the 80 calories found in servings of other carbohydrate foods.
Serving sizes may vary depending on the fruit. Here are some examples of what constitutes one serving of fruit:
4 oz. apple or pear
½ grape fruit
1 cup berries (any type)
10-12 large grapes
½ cup pineapple
1 cup cubed melon (any type)
Substitute fresh fruit for an unhealthy dessert. It will satisfy that post-dinner sweet craving with less calories and lots of nutrition benefit.
*The only exception to this is avocado. While it is considered a fruit, it is mostly comprised of fat. The good news is that it is comprised of healthy monounsaturated fats that are actually good for us. Because of the high fat content, it does contain more calories than other fruits, so watch the portions. A recommended serving would be approximately 1/6 of an avocado.
Sweet potatoes are a healthy and delicious vegetable. They are an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin C and dietary fiber. Here is a delicious recipe posted earlier this week for a sweet potato soup. It’s low in calories and fat, and high in fiber and flavor.
Gourmet Frozen Yogurt is everywhere. They are chic, cool, and delicious! Last summer my girls and I were addicted to the local Yumz. While the saturated fat content of frozen yogurt makes is a better choice than regular ice cream, keep a heads up on portions and toppings.
A half-cup of frozen yogurt is approximately 100 calories, depending on the flavor. The containers at most gourmet yogurt places probably hold at least 2 cups which, if full, would translate into more like 400 calories, just for the yogurt.
1 oz. of chocolate syrup adds 80 calories, ¼ cup walnuts sprinkled on top adds another 150 calories, and then top it off with 2 tablespoons of whipped topping for 15 calories. This brings us to a final total of 645 calories, about ½ of a woman’s daily calorie needs and 1/3 of a man’s.
This being said, the saturated and trans fat content of frozen yogurt is zero, and it is also a good source of calcium. The key is to keep the portion limited to ½-1 cup of yogurt and choose healthier toppings like fresh fruit.
With that being said, enjoy this warm weather with a special, healthy treat of gourmet frozen yogurt!
Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator
Kate has been working as a registered dietitian for 10 years. She specializes in educating people with diabetes. She enjoys teaching others about nutrition and giving people practical and realistic ideas on how to make healthy lifestyle changes.