So, you’re on a quest to eat healthy… what’s the most important thing for you to consider?
For me it’s about paying attention to the foods I’m consuming on a daily basis, as well as getting a good overall balance between calories, protein, carbs, and fats.
But, another thing that’s important — something I don’t always do — is to pay attention to where the produce I buy is being grown.
If you make the decision to purchase food that’s produced locally (otherwise known as being a “locavore”, BTW), not only will you reduce the likelihood that the produce has been treated with lots of chemicals, but you’ll also be supporting local farmers, strengthening your own economy, and encouraging local growth.
Eating locally is a pretty lucid term. Basically you get to decide how “local” you want to be.
For you, that may mean purchasing food within a 100, 200, 300 mile radius of your home. For others, local is defined as anything that grows in your state. There’s no set rule, so you decide what’s best for your family.
Let’s take a look at 6 ways you can eat locally:
1. Always read food labels
It seems a bit obvious, but checking food labels before purchasing anything is a must.
If you can’t find a food label, take a look at the info above or below the shelf where the produce is sitting — usually the origin is listed beside the weight and price. If you still can’t find out, don’t be afraid to ask someone in the store, they should be more than happy to help.
2. Shop in farmers markets
At at farmers market, you’ll find top quality produce, which often tastes exceptional, and is locally grown.
People tend to think that shopping at a farmers market will be more expensive, however for some items, you’ll actually find them cheaper in a farmer’s market, in comparison to a major grocery retailer.
Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case, so it is a good idea to shop around, and see what you can find, and where.
3. Buy seasonally
Eating with the seasons can really help you to eat locally.
The less in season a fruit or vegetable is, the longer the trip it will have to make to reach your local store. This usually means it will contain more chemicals to keep that food looking and tasting fresh, which over time, may have an impact on your health.
Find out what’s in season in your area, and then try to shop accordingly. If you’re not sure what produce is in season, check out some of the websites dedicated to giving you this information year round.
4. Visit a U-Pick farm
An alternative to shopping at local farmers markets is to consider U-pick farms. This allows you to select your own produce right from the farmer’s field.
Obviously, there’s a bit more work involved with this option, but it can be quite rewarding, and you get to choose each fruit individually, ensuring the freshest produce.
Remember to wash whatever you pick up at U-pick farms thoroughly, as there will be no treatments after picking, so you may find a few bugs along the way.
5. Grow your own
If roaming through someone else’s field isn’t quite your idea of fun, consider growing your own produce in your back garden.
Many people are starting to get into this, as it allows you to grow exactly what you and your family enjoys most, and it’s an economical way to eat healthy food all year.
Also, by tending a garden, most people find their interest in eating healthy foods increases, helping them to stay the course.
6. Make a commitment
Choose 4 or 5 foods that you can source locally, then commit to eating only those that have been locally grown for a while. This will help you get onto the way of “locavore” eating.
Good foods to start with include, locally produced cheese, milk/yoghurt, eggs, potatoes, and carrots, but you can choose whatever foods are best for you.
What are your tips for eating locally?