Monday, March 29, 2010

Spring into Healthy Eating

Today on WUSA9’s MomsLikeMe Moment, FAMILY Magazine’s Nutrition Editor, Judy Caplan presented some great information on healthy eating and what is available right now from local farms. This is great information and ideas that will help us all SPRING into a healthy outdoor season. Here is what Judy has to say about opportunities for healthy eating this spring.
Lighten Up and Spring into Healthy Eating
Spring is a happy time of year; a time of renewal. With renewal comes energy. The sun is higher in the sky and the days are getting longer. Let’s harness this new power and use it to shake off the winter blues. Put away those heavy coats and ease up on the starchy, wintry foods. Now is a great time to lighten up and spring into healthy eating.
Try joining a local produce club. Farms usually have a local drop off point where you can pick up your weekly veggies. Some even carry hormone free dairy and poultry products and grass fed beef.
Cool weather veggies like turnips, parsnips, beets, radish, salsify, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, collards and arugula are now coming into season. These pungent tasting veggies are high in phytochemicals and antioxidants that prevent disease.
Where Can I Find Local Farm Produce?
Here are some local farms that deliver fresh produce and flowers:
• Great Country Farms - 540-554-2073
• Potomac Vegetable Farms - 703-759-2119
• Blue Run Mountain Vegetable Farm – 703-754-4005
• Graceland Farm – 540-439-8171
• Mount Vernon Farm - 540-987-9559
• Virginia Green Grocer – 540-347-4740
• Blue Ridge Center CSA – 540-668-7640
Ready Your Kitchen for Spring
As the days get longer, we often start to crave lighter food. Perhaps we instinctually know that bright leafy greens are now in season. This is also a good time to clean the pantry and toss out food whose expiration dates have passed.

Throw Away Expired Foods
Throwaway foods that are seasonal (sprinkles, leftover frosting, half used bags of nuts) and won’t be fresh next year when you bake those holiday cookies.
Cooking oils go rancid over time so if the bottle of oil in the pantry has been opened and stored for almost six months, throw it out. Buy small bottles of oil (cold pressed) and keep them refrigerated to avoid rancidity. Oxidation (rancidity) causes free radicals, which are not good for the body.
Inspect Your Pots and Pans
Take a look at your pots and pans. If they are looking dull and stained, put on some good music and get scrubbing. Bar Keepers Friend is an amazing cleanser. You’ll be surprised how sexy sparkling pots and pans can be! If you notice flaking on your nonstick pans, throw them out. With all the press of late on the dangers of plastics, it is safer to use stainless steel pans with no coating.

Take inventory of your kitchen tools
• Are your knives sharp?
• Do you have a good grater and micro plane?
• Are there slotted stainless spoons for stir-frying?
• Is the cutting board big enough?
• What is the condition of your dishtowels?
• Are your small appliances working?
• Have you checked to see if your oven thermometer is accurate?
Clean Out the Fridge
Throwaway open bottles and jars that haven’t been used in ages. Clean the bins with hot soapy water. Change that burned out bulb so you can see what is in there. Defrost the freezer and again check dates on products. If foods are older than three months, toss them.

Reconnect with Your Cookbooks
Check out your cookbooks. If you haven’t bought a new one in years, you would be amazed at all the fabulous ones on the market. Put them in the bathroom (!) and by your bed. Looking at cookbooks will ignite your senses and get you ready for all the fresh produce that is about to come your way.

Judy – thanks for the great ideas. They certainly motivated me to get back into healthy cooking in the kitchen and clean out the refrigerator. Thanks!

Do you have some healthy eating tips you would like to share with other parents? Send them along and we will spread the word!

Happy Parenting, Brenda

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