Dieting doesn't have to be about flavorless foods and high prices. In fact, those who are most successful with their diets are the ones who skip the pricey and preservative-laden foods in the grocery store's diet aisle and head down to their local farmer's market. Getting your seasonal, locally grown fruits and vegetables from a local farmer not only ensures that you get your food at the peak of flavor and freshness, but also helps support your local economy and the environment by reducing trucking pollution.
In this part of our ongoing series, we will look at the items that you will find in your local farmer's market in the early fall. It is a huge transition for farms as the summer fruits and vegetables are at the end of their seasons, while the fall produce is just coming into season.
Here are some of the healthiest fruits and vegetables available, along with links to some healthy recipes using the produce.
The artichoke ends its brief harvest season in September, so it's the last chance to get them while they're fresh. Health-wise, artichokes are very nutrient dense. One medium artichoke runs a mere 60 calories and 13 carbohydrates. For that cost, you get 6 grams of fiber, more than 15 percent of your daily requirement of Vitamin C and Folate, and a good dose of magnesium, calcium, potassium, and phosphorous. Artichokes have been shown to lower blood sugar in diabetics and is a diuretic, promoting healthy bladder.
Check out this recipe for stuffed artichokes from the Eolia Health and Happiness Examiner.
Here's a hearty artichoke and mushroom lasagna recipe from the Healthy Recipes Examiner Carol Bardelli. It's a comfort food without the guilt.
Beets have two seasons in and the second half of September begins the second one. Beets are one of the most delicious and versatile vegetables available. They can be prepared in a number of ways--from pickling to boiling--and complement virtually any entree. Beets are also a nutritional giant. A whole beet is a measly 35 calories and brings a whole wealth of nutrients to the table including Vitamin C, iron, and beta carotene.
Very few vegetables scream southern cooking like collard greens. They have long been one of the staples of the southern table, and for good reason. In addition to being delicious, they are a leafy green. This means they're extremely low in calories and extremely high in nutrients. A cup of cooked collards has just 49 calories. For those calories, you get the nutritional benefits of 5 grams of fiber, more than 300 percent of your daily value of Vitamin A, and high doses of thiamin, potassium and riboflavin. Indulge your Southern self and serve up some collards at your next meal.
Spice up your side dish with this collard greens with hot pepper sauce recipe from Southern Plate. You can also check out these southern collard greens from the Norfolk Cooking Examiner, who use turkey wings for a healthier flavoring than bacon.
As beautiful as they are delicious, these orange vegetables are one of the most well-known superfoods. As every child knows from the old joke, carrots are good for your eyes because you've never seen a rabbit with glasses. Carrots are also an extremely versatile recipe, working equally well in soups, stir fry, sautees, and even raw. One large carrot has approximately 30 calories and loads of Vitamin A, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, and Niacin. Carrots help fight heart disease, promote colon and lung health, and help protect your vision.
One of the tastiest and most beautifully colored vegetables available in the fall is the sweet potato. While most Southerners mash them and top them with unhealthy marshmallows, ruining the nutrition, sweet potatoes are already sweet enough to need very little, if any, additional sweetening. A whole medium sweet potato is 130 calories and packs more than 200 percent of the daily value of Vitamin A, a high value of Vitamin C, and powerful antioxidants with anti-inflammatory properties.
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