By: Erin Peisach, RDN, CLT
Before we know it, spring will be upon us…which along with sunny skies, greener grass and flowering trees comes the opening weekends for local Farmer’s Markets! They pop up all across the city and county and offer a fresh array of local and seasonal produce. In the earlier months (April through June) you may find selections such as spinach, parsnips, fresh herbs, mushrooms, rhubarb, radishes, chard, lettuces, and asparagus. More variety of produce makes it way to the markets throughout the summer and falls months including berries, tomatoes, broccoli, cabbage, celery, cucumbers, kale, onions, peppers, and squash. Now I’m getting hungry!
The key is knowing what to do with all of these nutrient-rich, fresh, local ingredients. Too often I hear of people going to the market, coming home with a bag of goodies, and letting them rot while they are off eating out and relying on convenience food items. If this scenario sounds familiar to you, then I encourage you to make a change and devote yourself to home cooking! While there is no need to use a formal recipe, it can be helpful when you are working with unfamiliar ingredients. We live in a society inundated with information, including recipes, so try picking 2 to 3 recipe sources and sticking with them. Follow blogs or download recipe apps so you can stay up to date and get daily inspiration right at your fingertips. Recipe apps I enjoy include Whole Foods Recipes, Yummly, and Epicurious.
Another great tip to incorporate fresh farmer’s market produce into your diet is to prepare the food in different ways. I know plenty of my clients who claim to dislike Brussels sprouts (boiled and bland) until one day they try them in a new way (roasted and flavorful!) Cooking techniques such as roasting, sautéing, grilling, and even drying can bring out unique flavors and textures to your produce. Also, keep in mind that eating fresh produce can taste drastically different than its grocery store counterpart. I remember as a child despising peas, which came from a can or from the freezer, but once I tried fresh peas from the garden I couldn’t get enough! So, be open minded to new and old produce items when you are browsing through the market.
Lastly, do not be afraid to ask the local farmer how he or she prepares the ingredient. Farmers are often experts in what they grow and may have some excellent tips on how to prepare and use the ingredient you are interested in purchasing.
For more information or to learn more about healthy eating come visit me at the clinic! Or, you can also follow my blog nutritionbyerin.com/blog-and-recipes/..
About the author: Erin Peisach, RDN, CLT
Erin Peisach received her B.S. in dietetics from the University of Maryland, College Park followed by a clinically based dietetic internship at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center. She attained a personal trainer certification from the American College of Sports Medicine and has an extensive fitness background, and is a Certified LEAP Therapist (CLT), specializing in food sensitivity reactions. She has worked as a nutritionist with hundreds of individuals in an outpatient setting. She has appeared on local television including WBAL, WJZ, and WBFF explaining a variety of nutrition-related topics. Erin is a trained coach in numerous weight management programs. Her nutrition philosophy values nutrient-dense, minimally processed foods that nourish and heal the body from the inside out. Her practice combines the science and art of nutrition to obtain the diet that is right for each patient.
She can be contacted at the Center for Integrative Health and Healing, the clinical practice for the Center for Integrative Medicine, at 410-448-6361 or CIMClinicInfo@som.umaryland.edu. Erin also has a private nutrition practice, Nutrition by Erin, and you can see her blog posts at http://nutritionbyerin.com/blog-and-recipes/.
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