Winter Farmers Market

Farmers market closed? How to make the most of your grocery store’s produce aisle

Veggie_Farm-market

(BPT) – It’s the same story every year — kids return to school, temperatures drop, summer vacation becomes a fading memory and the local farmers market closes. While you may spend winter longing for the return of 80-degree days and sunny skies, you don’t have to miss out on your favorite fruits and veggies. Many are still available in local grocery stores and some smart tricks and choices can help you eat like the farmers market is still open … all winter long.

“The seasonal nature of farmers markets doesn’t have to keep you from reaping the benefits of fresh and locally grown produce,” says registered dietitian Paul Kriegler, assistant program manager for nutrition and weight loss, Life Time – The Healthy Way of Life Company. “The average store carries more than 45,000 different foods, so it’s important to know what to buy and what to avoid.”

To eat as if the farmers market is still in session, keep these tips in mind on your next visit to the grocery store:

Plan meals and menus for the week and make your shopping list accordingly. If you stick to your list, it will help you avoid impulse purchases.

Keep kids involved. If your children loved visiting the farmers market and learning how to eat healthy, there’s no reason you can’t continue their education in the grocery store. Take them shopping with you and give them a small budget so they can pick their own produce. Encourage them to pick fruits and vegetables from every color of the rainbow.

It’s not just folklore – if you shop while hungry, you’re more likely to make poor choices. “When you’re hungry, anything looks good, and junk looks even more appealing,” Kriegler cautions. “Have a healthful snack like a handful of nuts or a piece of fruit before you shop.”

Your diet should consist of mostly fruits and vegetables, so make the produce aisle the first stop when you visit the grocery store. If you fill your cart with more produce, you’ll have less room for less healthful choices.

Shop from the outer aisles, where you’re most likely to find whole, unprocessed foods – like fresh produce. Inner aisle have more processed foods.

Don’t be afraid to try new things. As the seasons turn, new and unexpected items may appear in produce aisles. Varieties of squash begin appearing in September and staying through March, as well as turnips, rutabagas, carrots and other cool weather favorites. An online search can help you find new recipes for virtually any type of unfamiliar produce. Experimenting with new veggies and fruits can be exciting and nutritious!

Take advantage of store resources. Many grocery stores now include signage in the produce aisle that tells you where different items originated, how you might use them, flavor and nutrition — even recipes. If your grocery store offers free recipe cards beside a new vegetable, give both a try.

Whenever possible, buy organic. “I commonly hear the question, is organic really necessary,” Kriegler says. “Your first goal is to increase the amount of fruits and vegetables your family eats, but once you’re doing that it’s important to choose organic produce. It will help you avoid toxins, herbicides and pesticides in your food that could affect your metabolism and cause other health problems.”

If you must buy prepackaged and labeled foods, read the ingredient list first. If it’s full of unrecognizable or unhealthy ingredients, put it back on the shelf and look for a better alternative.

For more healthful living and nutrition information, visit LifeTimeFitness.com.

Beat the Clock Beauty

Beat-the-clock beauty from head to toe

Beat-the-clock(BPT) – Let’s face it, lack of time is one of the biggest burdens in every woman’s life, especially when it hinders your grooming routine. Think about how much time it can take to get polished: 30 minute pedicure, hour long facial, 40 minute blowout, and viola! You’ve already lost more than two hours.

It’s about time (pun intended) to rethink your beauty regimen and go sans salon. The right at-home products can give you the results you want – while dodging the investment of time and money in salon trips.

Check out these beautifying at-home shortcuts to help you look and feel your best, with a lot less effort:

DIY beach waves

Who doesn’t love beach hair? Just because everyday isn’t a vacation doesn’t mean you can’t have fresh-from-the-beach salt-water hair at home. Making sea salt spray in your kitchen is easy and provides that amazing look in no time. Combine hot water (not scalding), sea salt, your favorite hair oil (like coconut or argan), leave-in conditioner and some water-based gel. Apply generously to towel-dried hair, braid loosely and let it dry. Make this mixture and save it in an old shampoo bottle, so you can use it whenever you’re in to mood for a fast, easy, and fabulous hairstyle.

Pamper your feet with an at-home pedi

At-home pedicures are a great way to pamper yourself – without having to devote time to visiting the salon.  The experience can be more than just polishing your nails, however. Smooth and renew the rough skin on your heels and toes with the new Dr. Scholl’s DreamWalk Express Pedi Foot Smoother.  This electronic hand-held device makes it easy to buff away dry, rough skin, leaving feet looking and feeling smoother. The user-friendly contoured design has no sharp blades. In addition, a nice time saver, is that you don’t need to soak your feet prior to use. Visit www.drscholls.com to learn more.

Give yourself a fresh, glowing face

Facials can take up to an hour and can be costly. If you’re looking for a simple way to get glowing skin without spending a hefty amount of time and money, try an at-home facial. Start with a gentle, natural exfoliator, like salt or oatmeal. Next, soak a washcloth in warm tap water, wring it out, drape it over your face, and let it sit for a few minutes. This helps open pores. Remove the washcloth and apply your favorite mask, following the manufacturer’s directions for application, duration and removal. After removing the mask, apply a light moisturizer. You will feel fresh, revitalized and your wallet will thank you!

Body exfoliator

Exfoliating your skin removes dead skin cells from the skin’s surface, leaving a healthy and glowing look. Lack of exfoliation can lead to dull and dry skin. You don’t need to go to an expert or even buy an expensive product to exfoliate your body. Combine one part olive oil, five parts sea salt, and a lemon together to make the perfect at-home body scrub in seconds!

Keep extra portions of the scrub in a mason jar in your bathroom and use on dry skin before rinsing off in the shower. You will feel refreshed and glowing when you step out!

Try these at-home beauty routine time-savers next time you’re in a pinch or are in need of a little extra relaxation. You deserve it!