Eating with the seasons!

????????????????????????????????????????by Kellie Baker, MiCAFE Outreach Coordinator

Eating healthy isn’t always easy, regardless of your budget.  Often packaged, processed foods are less expensive, keep longer, are easily prepared and readily available.  Unfortunately, eating these foods frequently comes with health consequences making it important to limit how often you eat these foods.  Sometimes though, finding fresh foods, especially fruits and vegetables can be challenging.  We are fortunate to live in a state that produces a huge variety of produce.  In fact, Michigan is second only to California in the variety of fruits and vegetables grown in a state!  We know fruits and vegetables are important to a healthy, well-balanced diet.  They are also often quick and easy to prepare and are loaded with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber which we all need for good health.  Maybe as important, they are delicious!  While many of us know the importance of eating nutritious foods, that doesn’t always mean we can afford them.  Let’s talk about some ways to stretch your food budget and eat those healthy fruits and veggies we love!

One of the easiest ways to reduce your food bill is to eat what’s in season.  When produce is at its peak, there is a lot of it around for purchase.  With the old laws of supply and demand, the prices drop when there is a larger supply! You can find delicious fruits and vegetables for bargain prices.  In the summer look for lower prices on tasty tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and herbs.  In the fall, keep your eyes open for mouthwatering  citrus fruit, apples, sweet potatoes and leafy greens.  In the spring, watch for all kinds of wonderful berries, asparagus, artichokes and peas.  This method works at both the grocery store and farmer’s markets.  You are surely going to find something to liven up your plate!

Another trick I’ve learned as I’ve tried to sneak more produce into my diet, is to learn when my supermarket marks down their produce.  I buy only what I know I (or the members of my family) will eat before it goes bad.  (You aren’t saving money if it is thrown away, regardless of how inexpensive it is!)  Using this method, I can often get produce 40-50% off.  Because I live near a grocery store, this works for me.  If you have a farther distance to travel to your market, it may not be a reasonable option.

A bonus: Research shows eating more plant-based foods may lower your risk for heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers! Eating what’s in season is delicious and good for you!

If you or someone you know is having a hard time making ends meet or putting food on the table, call MiCAFE at 1-877-664-2233!

Kellie BakerKellie Baker is the MiCAFE Outreach Coordinator at Elder Law of Michigan.  She joined Elder Law in April 2014.  Kellie received her Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Central Michigan University.

Kellie comes to Elder Law with a background in coalition building, community collaboration and training.  Prior to joining Elder Law, Kellie worked as the Prevention and Community Relations Manager at LifeWays, Community Mental Health in Jackson, Michigan where she advocated on behalf of individuals with substance use and mental health disorders.

Kellie is a Certified Mental Health First Aid Trainer for the National Council for Behavioral Health and an Approved Instructor for Critical Incident Stress Management for the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation.

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