By Kirstyn Mayers
Ever since I started trying to get pregnant, I began to think of health and nutrition as a priority — as opposed to a necessity I needed to meet the minimum requirements for. I still eat my favourite comfort foods and definitely don’t exercise as much I should, but now I place more importance on including whole, nutrient dense, and “clean” foods into my diet.
A huge help has been subscribing to Fresh City Farm’s weekly produce bag. Every week I get a bag of local, organic produce. It forces me to eat seasonally and try new things that I wouldn’t normally pick up in the grocery store. I’ve learned to cook a ton of different vegetables, and I know that every week I’m at least eating all the produce that comes in the bag.
If our family was to fully switch to organic produce, the cost would be significant. To make it a little more affordable, I follow the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen list. It’s a list of produce that contains very high levels of pesticides (meaning you should buy organic if possible) and produce that is grown with little to no pesticide use (it’s safe to buy non-organic). I use Fresh City Farms’ substitution feature to swap out produce on the clean list for produce on the dirty list, meaning we only spend money on organic when we need to. I also use the guide for shopping in the grocery store, only buying organic if it’s listed in the Dirty Dozen.
There’s a few simple tips you can follow if you want to tackle a bag of unfamiliar veggies, so that nothing goes to waste:
- The green tops of most root vegetables can be chopped up and sauteed as you would most bitter greens (chard, collard greens) with butter and garlic.
- Root vegetables can be washed or peeled, cubed, and roasted with olive oil, garlic, onion and herbs.
- Any fresh greens and sprouts (lettuce, micro greens, pea shoots) can be rinsed and tossed together to make a green salad.
- Fresh vegetables like cucumber, bell peppers, radishes, and mushrooms can be cut up and mixed with quinoa. Season it with olive oil, lemon juice, and fresh herbs.
Eating clean can be affordable and convenient once you get the hang of it. The best way to get comfortable cooking new things is to dive right in!