With local farmers’ markets in full swing, there’s no time like the present to add fresh fruit and vegetables to your diet. But what to buy can be daunting: What’s the difference between rhubarb and rutabaga? Is kale even edible? To help us figure out what to put in our (reusable, natch) shopping tote, we turned to holistic health coach Elise Rubenstein. “I call myself the food lady,” says Rubenstein. “I teach people how to eat, and create awareness. I don’t believe in diets.” This is a plan we can live with.
What are some of the biggest myths about healthy eating? That it’s expensive to eat healthy, and that it’s too time consuming. Also, people think that if they are eating healthy, they have to cook at home all time, or they think they won’t like the way healthy foods taste.
How can I eat healthily while keeping costs down? When we trade in processed food——that’s anything in a box or a bag including breads and crackers and chips——and upgrade our choices and replace processed foods with real food, our grocery bills actually go down. People don’t realize that the chips and frozen dinners and sodas they buy to feed their families are expensive. When I hear from my clients who “upgrade,” they say, “when I shop organic, I still spend less.”
What should I keep in mind when I visit the local farmers’ markets? If we eat all of the colors, we get all of the vitamins and minerals that fruits and vegetables have to offer us. But don’t get apples every week. Pick one fruit one week and another the next week. Buy whatever looks best. If cantaloupes look amazing one week, then buy them.
Any great recipes utilizing vegetables from the markets? Always include a green in your shopping cart. One of my favorite recipes is to sauté a green and a can of tomatoes to balance the bitterness. It can be kale, Swiss chard, spinach——they’re all delicious.
Any other tips on shopping the markets? When people go to the farmers’ markets and see vegetables they’re not sure what to do with, like baby bok choy or kohlrabi, they don’t buy them. Make a game out of it and buy it, and then learn how to cook them. That’s how you expand your horizons; people need to be more creative and take a leap.
WHAT YOU NEED: Use these items to help with your nutritional goals.
Urban Farming: Visit weekly farmers’ markets to stock up on vegetables and other locally grown foods.
Healthy Snack: Try using a healthier option like kale chips to satisfy your snacking.
Wiki Works: Researching an unfamiliar food first will encourage you to purchase it and try it.