Plan a visit and celebrate National Farmers Market Week with us from Sunday, August 7 – Saturday, August 13! Your neighborhood farmers market is one of the best ways to eat fresh, buy local, and meet the farmer that has grown the produce that will end up on your plate. The American Heart Association recommends 4-5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day, and for good reason. Fruits and vegetables are high in vitamins, minerals, and fiber while being low in fat and calories. When shopping for your favorite heart-healthy foods at the farmers market this week, here are some of our favorite tips to increase fruit and vegetable intake:
- Make half your plate fruits or vegetables – For breakfast, try a side serving or topping of fresh fruit alongside your favorite morning staples. Some great options for a lunch or dinner side dish include a baked sweet potato, a delicious garden salad, or a medley of roasted or steamed vegetables. The more color you can add, the better! A great way to get the wide variety of the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that fruits and vegetables provide is to add a mix of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, violet, and white to your plate. You can also add vegetables to your main meals, like peas to your favorite whole-wheat pasta meal or lettuce and tomatoes to your sandwiches. A snack of raw veggie sticks or a piece of fruit is also a vitamin-packed and convenient option throughout a busy day.
- Drink your fruits and vegetables – Smoothies are easy to make and make it easy to get in your fruit and vegetable intake! A great rule of thumb to make a healthy and delicious smoothie is to use a ratio of half frozen fruit (like frozen bananas, berries, grapes), half green vegetables (like leafy greens, cucumbers, or celery), blended with enough liquid (like water or almond milk) to achieve the consistency you like! Make blending easier by placing the frozen fruit first and be creative with the produce you choose! The flavor profiles are endless and the results are great for providing you with a boost of energy for the rest of your day.
- Freeze fruit for a delicious dessert – Swap an unhealthy dessert for a flavor-packed, vitamin-filled one by freezing fruit like grapes and blueberries. This not only extends the shelf-life of your fruit, it also makes a finger-food dessert that is sure to delight. If you own a high-powered blender, another great swap is frozen “banana whip,” an ice-cream substitute that is just one ingredient! Using well-ripened bananas, simply peel, quarter, freeze, blend to the consistency of ice cream, and enjoy your heart-healthy treat!
Do you have your trip planned for National Farmers Market Week? Chat with us in the comments section if you’ve tried one of our tips or share tips of your own that you’ve used to increase your fruit and vegetable intake!