Healthy Benefits from Eating Locally in the New Year

Most thoughts of food after the New Year are focused on what should be given up in an effort to become healthier or lose weight. Each of us can benefit from making small improvements to our diet, however, this season, instead of focusing on restriction and what you cannot eat; focus on what you can and should eat. There are plenty of healthy foods to choose from, but choosing foods grown locally have the double benefit of higher nutrient content and supporting the economy of your local community.

Root VegetablesIn winter and autumn when the temperatures drop it is assumed few foods grow where I live, in Colorado, however, many vegetables have adapted to our environment.  I look for these vegetables grown on Coloradan farms at King Sooper’s and Safeway:  carrots, celery, garlic, leeks, lettuce, tomatoes, potatoes scallions, spinach, parsnips, winter squash, and pumpkins. One of the most popular and easy to use vegetables are fingerling potatoes. Local Harvest in La Salle, CO offer several varieties of fingerling potatoes; perfect appetizers at any holiday or winter event this season.

Eating local may sound novel yet impractical, however, even just eating one or two locally grown fruits or vegetables is more bang for your buck. The closer you can purchase your food to where it is grown, the more nutrient dense it will be. Most food travels 1500 miles, and to avoid being over-ripe or expired at the time it is placed on your grocer’s shelves, it is often picked before it is ripe. Then ethylene gas is used to superficially ripen fruit and accelerate the growth of vegetables so that they appear fresh on the shelves. Ethylene gas can be a natural byproduct emitted as fruit naturally ripens, but when used to artificially ripen fruit, the fruit it is sprayed upon, has lower vitamin content than naturally ripened fruit. Next time you shop, look for produce from a local farm.


Rosemary Fingerling Potatoes

Nutrition Info: Servings: 6- 8 (4 oz), Calories: 136, Total Fat: 7.0 g , Saturated Fat 1.0 g, Monounsaturated Fat 5.0, Cholesterol: 0.0 mg , Sodium: 120.0 mg, Potassium 544 mg, Total Carbs: 19.6 g, Dietary Fiber: 2.3 g, Protein: 3.0 g

Ingredients:
  • 2 pounds fingerling potatoes halved lengthwise
  • 1 bunch carrots
  • 1 medium beet (optional)
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil or cooking spray
  • 3/4 tsp coarse sea salt
  • Mixed peppercorns: for extra flavor try a mix of red, pink, white and black
  • Cumin to taste
Directions:
  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Wash, slice potatoes and carrots. Cut lengthwise and place on baking sheet.
  3. Place garlic clove in baking pan wrapped in aluminum foil and drizzled with olive oil. Drizzle olive oil over carrots and potatoes; season with 1 1/4 teaspoons salt & mixed peppercorns. Sprinkle rosemary over the top and toss with clean dry hands to evenly coat.
  4. Place in oven and roast until tender, 30 minutes (tossing halfway through cooking time). Remove pan from oven, squeeze lemon wedges on the potatoes and serve.

 

Find a local market or farm using these resources:

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