Seven ways to eat healthy during the winter

what do you do when those local farmers markets shut down for the cold winter months, and buying fresh, local produce isn’t as readily available?

The long days of summer are gone and so are all the farmers markets I frequented to stock up each weekend on locally grown fruits and vegetables without busting my budget. It’s been said over and over that buying local produce is not only healthier (fewer pesticides and more in-season options), but it also boosts your local economy. But what do you do when those local farmers markets shut down for the cold winter months, and buying fresh, local produce isn’t as readily available?

I have your answer! Here are seven ways you and your family can eat healthy this winter (and maybe even still support your local farmers).

1 – Always buy in-season produce, no matter the time of the year. Winter in-season fruits and vegetables such apples, cranberries, beets, cabbage, kale, leeks, pears and winter squash will be less expensive than strawberries, asparagus and other summer favorites. Ask your supermarket manager what winter produce is sourced locally.

2 – Consider purchasing in-season produce that you have not tried before. Winter brings less-colorful vegetables, but that doesn’t mean they are any less tasty or healthy. Try white winter vegetables such as cauliflower, celery root, daikon radishes, endive, parsnips and turnips.

3 – Ditch your fallback comfort foods and make the most of winter vegetables instead. Instead of mashed potatoes for dinner, try roasted cauliflower instead. Winter vegetables are also perfect for stews, soups and casseroles.

4 – Legumes such as beans and lentils are ideal winter foods — hearty, warming, satisfying and very versatile. They are low in fat or fat-free, high in protein and a great source of dietary fiber. And because legumes are a staple in a variety of cuisines, from Mexican to Indian, you can treat your family to new flavors of spice to warm up cold evenings.

5 – Look for independent retail stores and grocers that sell local products, including seasonal produce, meats, cheese, eggs and honey. The fruits and vegetables you purchase will be healthy for your family and will have been picked ripe and at the peak of flavor.

In Louisville, visit The Root Cellar for local products or sign up for Green Bean Delivery, a food delivery service that brings fresh, local and organic produce to your doorstep.

6 – Find out if your local farmers market has moved indoors for the winter — many do. But keep in mind these indoor farmers markets may have less produce in the winter and more meats, cheeses, eggs and bread. Here is a list of Louisville indoor farmers markets:

New Albany Farmers Market
Now through April 25, 2015, Third Street Market, 210 E. Third St.

Jeffersontown Farmers Market
Twice a month now through April 2015, Jeffersontown Christian Church

Louisville Winter Farmers Market
Beginning Nov. 22, 1007 E. Jefferson St.

7 – Consider purchasing direct from a farm. Many larger farms will have stores for purchasing produce, meats, cheeses, breads, bakery items and more. Louisville-area farm markets include Foxhollow Farm in Crestwood, Kentucky, and the markets at Huber’s Orchard, Winery & Vineyards and Joe Huber’s Family Farm & Restaurant in Borden, Indiana.


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