Healthy Shopping at the Farmer’s Market

healthy shopping at the farmer's market
Healthy shopping at the farmer’s market

I’m a 65-year-old woman living in Mexico. I am passionate about maintaining a healthy lifestyle here, and I’m going to tell you about my weekly trip to do healthy shopping at the farmer’s market, that helps keep my nutrition in check. If you’re a woman living in North America, chances are you have a farmer’s market somewhere near where you live, and I hope my post will help you make healthier choices!

In Mexico, it’s a particular challenge to make healthy choices with our meals, due to the prevalence of the staple diet, which includes white flour tortillas, beans, and white rice, so it’s necessary to get creative. I’ve found the farmer’s market to be a great place to explore my healthy eating creativity.

The farmer’s market opens at 10am, but I never get there at opening because it’s like guerrilla warfare shopping. People surge forward and get in line for the honor of buying the best heirloom tomatoes and the best homemade non-gluten bread.

I stroll in about 10.20 when those people are heading home. At that time I don’t have to peer over heads and stand in long lines to get the remainder of the healthy produce. There is still lots left, well maybe not the big ripe heirlooms, but that farmer has other nice tomatoes that I buy without any stress. Remember, the deeper and more vibrant in colour the fruits and vegetables are, the more vitamins and minerals they likely contain. This is a key tip to be have a successful healthy shopping experience at the farmer’s market.

First, I head to the table that has the prepared food that I order every week. The vendor sends out an email of what she’s cooking and I order online. It’s a nice treat to not have to cook a gourmet meal and for what I order, it gives my husband and I enough for a healthy dinner for two and lunch for one. This week, it was lean pork and broccoli stir-fry. I served it over whole wheat organic couscous, also purchased at the market. I love whole wheat couscous as it’s a great source of iron and fiber, and it’s so easy to prepare.

Next, I go to the organic lettuce seller and buy my week’s supply of greens. It’s a wonderful combination of red, curly and other lettuces. When buying lettuce, it’s important that it’s super fresh (no brown spots) and buying a variety will help you fill out your daily vitamin and mineral requirements.

Then, I head to the solar oven organic cooked food booth, where I buy things like portabello mushroom sauce turkey breast and my supply of side salads for the week, such as brown rice and veggies, cooked beats, and black beans and tomatoes. I never buy white rice because it lacks much nutrition – brown rice, however, is packed with healthy goodness, especially fiber. These salads are destined to go with the various proteins that we cook on the BBQ, such as salmon, grouper and once a week a steak!

This vendor also provides my water kefir, a fermented beverage teeming with beneficial bacteria, which I drink every morning. It’s an acquired taste, for sure, tasting something like slightly alcoholic fizzy lemonade, but if you can get used to the taste, it’s a great source of probiotics.

I buy vegetable tamales that are organic and don’t have lard in them. These will also accompany pan-fried fish in cold-pressed, virgin coconut oil for another delicious meal. Then I wander around to collect veggies like miniature zucchini, mustard greens and kale to flash fry with the coconut oil and some garlic. If you haven’t yet discovered the health benefits of coconut oil, you’ll just need to google it and be surprised at its many healthy qualities.

I usually buy a different of kind bread every week. We love to experiment with these wonderful organic and gluten-free breads. Neither of us is allergic to gluten that we know of, but these breads are certainly easier on the gut. When I get home, I slice the bread and put 2/3’s in the freezer and keep the other part out. We eat sandwiches 2-3 times a week, so this way, the bread is always fresh.
This whole venture only takes an hour from door to door and then it’s in the fridge or stored in glass containers to keep fresh.
We’re trying very hard to stay away from processed foods and eat as fresh and healthfully as possible, so my weekly healthy shopping at the farmer’s market is invaluable to us.

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