10 July, 2013

Eat Local and Lose Weight

How many miles did your last meal travel before reaching your plate? There is a good chance the number might top 1,500 miles. The average meal has ingredients that come from at least five different countries. Highly processed foods, fresh produce and even meat is packed onto trucks and transported for days before reaching your neighborhood grocery store. A lot of people don’t realize how far every bite of food they take has traveled before reaching their lips, and for some this is pretty disconcerting. Eat local and lose weight!

Weight loss surgery will likely encourage you to make healthy changes in your diet. What you choose to eat, how often you are eating and how much you eat at once will all undergo changes as you gain greater control over hunger and eating habits. Connecting with the source of the food you eat is a great way to increase awareness within your own diet as you undergo these changes.

Shopping at the farmers market can do more than just increase healthy aspects of your diet. By encouraging your family to go to the market with you and incorporating fresh, healthy ingredients into your weekly meal plan you can increase the health of your family’s diet altogether.

Here are a few tips to consider when heading to the farmer’s market:

  • Bring your own bag: Some of the farmer’s may have plastic bags, but most will expect to just hand you the produce. You can either bring a standard re-usable grocery bag or an insulated cooler bag to keep your produce cold.
  • Ask about storage techniques: As you buy produce, ask the farmers how they would suggest storing the items you are buying, and how long you can expect the produce to last. Most produce is okay for about a week, so try not to buy more than your family will eat in that amount of time.
  • Bring cash: Some farmers are now starting to accept credit cards thanks to the advancement of smartphone applications, but most keep to cash-only. At most farmers markets you can buy a substantial amount of fresh produce for just $10 to $20.
  • Ask for a taste: Farmers are there to sell their harvest, so don’t treat yourself to the display for a taste. Many farmers will keep a few items to the side to offer tastes of, especially for in-season produce. If you are unsure about something, ask if you can sample before buying.

If you’ve never been before, try out a farmer’s market near your home. The River District Farmers Market is located under the Caloosahatchee Bridge in Ft. Myers. This market features produce, baked goods, local honey and more. It is open on Thursdays from 7am to 1pm.