When deciding what to make for dinner, what do you consider? This week, challenge yourself to eat locally-grown foods. Whether you are buying from a farmers market or picking the vegetables from your backyard, eating local has many health and wellness benefits.
Local food has more nutrients
Local food takes less time to get from the farm to your table, which means the food retains more of its nutrients. When you buy food that has been imported from other states or countries, it is picked well before it is fully-ripened, giving nutrients less time to develop. It also has more time to degrade in storage.
Local foods promote a safer food supply
The more steps between you and your food sources, the more chances there are for contamination. Food grown in distant locations has the potential for safety issues at harvesting, washing, shipping, and distribution.
Growing your own food burns calories
Gardening burns more calories than grabbing your food off the grocery store shelf and it gets you out into the fresh air and sunshine. On average, a 150-pound person burns 270 calories in one hour of gardening.
Follow these simple steps to add more locally-grown food into your diet:
- Find a local farmer’s market by searching on the USDA website and plan to do your produce-shopping there Search.AMS.USDA.gov/farmersmarkets
- Plant a garden! Visit FarmFresh.org/learn/harvestcalendar.php to see what crops grow well in your area.
- Eat at restaurants that support local growers. Search EatWellGuide.org for restaurants in your area.
Check out NRDC.org/health/food to find out what is in season in your area, how eating locally-sourced foods can impact our environment, and read some tips about reducing your waste.