Farmer's Markets are a healthy mom's dream. The unique, fresh and nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables inspire some fab dishes for the whole family to enjoy. There are also many advantages of eating seasonal. Here are some of our favorite fresh farm finds that can be added to new recipes and improve the taste of your old favorites!
Beets: Beets are great for cardiovascular health, can help lower cholesterol levels, and are high in folic acid, potassium, and calcium. That means if you don't add beets to your juices and smoothies, you're missing out on tons of health benefits.
Carrots: Carrots are a versatile veggie that you should always have on hand, and they are packed with vitamin A! From baking a carrot cake and tossing them on the grill to juicing, you won't regret this purchase.
Zucchini: Zucchini is super low in calories due to its high water content. This fresh find is high in potassium, which controls heart rate and blood pressure. It also contains protein, carbohydrates, and fiber. Bonus: this is yet another versatile veggie! Use your fresh zucchini to make skinny zucchini bread, zucchini chips, zucchini pizza boats, and so much more. Click here for some amazing zucchini recipes!
Peppers: There are so many varieties of peppers, and they each contain different health benefits; this vegetable is a powerhouse packed full of antioxidants! Red peppers are a good source of lycopene, which is useful in preventing some forms of cancer. Peppers also contain ample amounts of vitamin C which is important in helping your body with iron absorption, and are rich in Vitamin A, which supports eye health. You can't go wrong with adding these powerhouses to your meal plan in delicious recipes like cheesesteak stuffed peppers and skinny italian sausage and peppers!
Butternut Squash: Did you know that butternut squash is actually a fruit that has similar properties to a pumpkin? It is rich in Vitamin A, which is wonderful for keeping your skin radiant, and high in Vitamin C for a healthy immune system. Butternut squash is also loaded with fiber, which is excellent for digestion. Grab some butternut squash from your local farmer's market, and whip up some skinny butternut squash soup or zucchini fettuccine with rosemary butternut creme sauce.
Berries: Fresh, local berries are in season during the summer, so get them while you can! Not only are they tasty and a perfect addition to every day meals, they even have anti-aging properties! We love to use fresh berries for a strawberry rhubarb crisp, blueberry protein muffin, or our copycat Panera strawberry chicken salad.
Variety Tomatoes: We all know apples are good for you, but the new saying should be, 'a tomato a day keeps the doctor away,' because tomatoes have a tremendous array of health benefits! Like peppers, tomatoes contain lycopene. Lycopene can help ward off diseases and other health complications. Tomatoes can also help to protect your skin against sun damage since they contain Beta-carotene. Other nutrients found in a single tomato are thiamin, niacin, vitamin B6, magnesium,Vitamins A, C, K, folate and potassium. Not on the tomato bandwagon yet? Try our oven baked "fried" green tomatoes or quinoa stuffed tomatoes!
Cucumbers: With a 96% water content, cucumbers are excellent for your skin and even have skin tightening properties when juiced. They can also do wonders for puffy eyes when applied to the eye area, and can even be used as a mask! Having kidney or bladder issues? Try cucumbers in your favorite detox water and they will act as a mild diuretic by flushing out toxins and waste. You can also use your fresh cucumbers as a new and exciting side dish with our skinny pineapple cucumber couscous!
New Potatoes: If you love potatoes, but shy away from all the carbs, new potatoes are perfect for you! They are full of iron which can help to prevent anemia, and new potatoes actually contain 1/3 less carbohydrates than a regular potato! That means you can make your favorite potato recipes, including skinny chipotle mashed potatoes, without feeling guilty!
Cabbage: This hearty, healthy vegetable is great for reducing inflammation, and even melting away tummy fat! It can also lower your risk of colon cancer due to the high fiber content, and contains large amounts of both Vitamin C and Vitamin K. Want to add some serious flavor to your cabbage? Try this Sriracha beef cabbage bowl!
Green Beans: These fresh finds are great additions to almost every meal! Fresh green beans are high in Vitamin K and Vitamin C as well being high in fiber. Green beans are the perfect low-cal super food, and our skinny country green beans make an excellent side dish.
Farmer's markets turn healthy eating into an adventure, so pack up the kids and explore all of the fresh fruits and veggies together! Kids get a valuable lesson in healthy foods, and you get flavorful ingredients for all of your meals.