Could your diet use a little kick in the pants? If you eat like the average American, the answer is yes. The average American diet includes way too much added sugar and saturated fats and too few fruits and vegetables. If you're feeling ready to make some improvements this is a perfect time of year to do so.
1. Grow some herbs
I'm forever talking about adding fresh herbs to foods to make meals more flavorful without adding excess amount of salt and fat. You can buy potted herbs at any market (grocery store or garden center) and either re pot them in something bigger or put them in the ground. We planted chives, oregano and thyme last year and they came back beautifully! If you prefer pots or planters, you can keep them going all year round. Just bring them in during the cold months and keep them in a sunny spot in the house.
2. Visit the Farmers Market
Just being around all of the amazing local offerings of the farmer's market can be very inspiring! Buy some fresh fruits and veggies and try something new each week. Give each kid a dollar or two to pick out something new to try. Find a recipe or ask the farmer for suggestions and try it out together. Make it fun!
3. Make salad a staple
Summer is the perfect time of year to start a salad habit. A big salad with a protein makes a perfectly satisfying meal for lunch or dinner. Adding a side salad at dinner will help cut down on your dinner portions of less healthy, vegetable-y foods. Just use a little olive oil and vinegar or lemon juice for dressing (you down want to blow a good thing by drenching your salad in a high calorie dressing full of unwanted additives) and once again, those fresh herbs can make all the difference.
4. Join a CSA
That stands for Community Supported Agriculture. This basically is like having a membership at a farm. Each week you get a certain amount of produce straight from the farm. Some shares will allow you to pick out what you want each week, or some just send you a box of what ever is ready for the pickin'. We've been doing this for years now and we love it. We've tried many things that we had never heard of (purple peppers anyone?) and have some new favorites that we probably wouldn't have otherwise thought to try! You can google CSA's in your area to find a fit that works for you.
5. Plant a garden
Now this isn't going to be for everyone but even if you have just a small sunny square, big enough for a few plants, give it a try! It's a great way for kids to learn about food and where it comes from. You can decide as a family what to plant and feel proud of your accomplishments when you get to literally enjoy the fruits of your labor! For a few bucks and a little bit of time, you have a learning experience, a good excuse to play in the dirt and something that allows you to watch your efforts pay off, it's a win,win, win. We're just getting ours going this week. We're using a mix of seeds and plants.
I hope you'll try a few of these out and make it a family affair! We want everyone eating better! Please leave a comment if you try something new or already do some of these things, I'd love to hear your stories.