How to keep it healthy at the farmers market

BY DENISE LAU
denise_lau@hmsa.com

Think you can’t go wrong at a farmers market? Think again. Today’s farmers markets include lots of prepared options, many of which aren’t all that healthy.

So what should you be going for at your local farmers market?

I recently visited a Honolulu farmers market with dietetics student and cook Kelly Sloan and diabetes expert Doug Park to get the scoop on what to go for at the farmers market.

Here’s what they suggested:

1. Hit the fruit and veggies first. 

Make sure you buy the good stuff before hitting the treats. I bought mushrooms, tomatoes, and a fruit salad for less than $10. Bargain!

Farmers Market veggies

2. Buy a lean protein.

There are usually lots of protein options at today’s farmers markets. Go for something lean. We found fresh crabs and ahi jerky, some of my favorites.

Farmers Market CrabsFarmers Market Aku

3. Look for a low-calorie condiment to use at home.

Farmers markets are a great place to learn about new, locally-made products. But beware: Just because it’s locally-made doesn’t mean it’s healthy. It’s probably a good idea to steer clear of the sweets. Why not try out a low-calorie salad dressing instead? We tried some great balsamic vinaigrette.

Farmers Market Basalmic Vinegarette

4. Choose some quality complex carbohydrates to share!

Carbohydrates have a bad reputation. But they’re part of a healthy diet. When choosing your carbs, look for foods with minimal preparation. We found poi vendors who let us try their delicious creations!

poi vendor2Poi vendor

5. Get refreshed with freshly-squeezed juice.

Juicing is all the rage these days, and 100 percent fruit juice definitely has benefits. Rather than going for a sugary lemonade or soda, try out a freshly-squeezed juice (you’re bound to find a vendor at most farmers markets).

Instapressed juices

6. Don’t be afraid to ask for substitutions.

Farmers market vendors who prepare food are usually happy to meet your food substitution requests. So go ahead: Ask for brown rice instead of white; sub out those fries for a side salad. If a vendor can’t accommodate request, ask what they are able to do to make your meal healthier.

Farmers Market plate lunch

 

denise bio

Denise Lau is a content specialist at HMSA and blogs about mommyhood with her #808moms series. She has her hands full with a precocious, artistic daughter and active son. Her goal is to be healthy and fit while her kids become successful, well-rounded adults. Follow her on Twitter.

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