Picture two scenarios: the first involves you rushing through a crowded supermarket picking over pale produce, kids begging for candy, long lines. The second involves sun on your shoulders as you wander through stands filled with fresh produce, introducing your kids to new foods as you go. It’s easy to choose which scenario seems more enjoyable, but this pleasant scene is not the only thing that makes shopping for produce at local farmers markets more desirable. Check out the impressive benefits of buying local:
1. Fun and Personal. Taking your kids along to the farmer’s market is not only a fun way to spend a Saturday morning; it is also a great way to make food shopping more personal to your children. Encourage them to talk with the farmers and ask any questions they may have. Meeting the people who grew their eggplant or zucchini just may make picky eaters more likely to willingly try a bite!
2. Affordability. By cutting out the middleman of the large grocery store chain, you can often realize major savings on the items you need. As an added bonus, many small farms actually use organic farming practices, but have just not gone through the formal process to be able to officially label their food organic. Ask the proprietors at the stands you frequent; you’ll likely be pleased to learn how few (if any) chemicals are used.
3. More Nutrients. Factors like heat and time can cause nutrients and antioxidants in food to diminish. Rather buying food that is subjected to be shipped across the country (or world), get foods that are grown in your own backyard.
4. Freedom for Kids. Let each child pick out one new food he or she to try. While you may end up with neon colored candy if you give your child this option at a traditional grocery store, when charged with this task at the farmers market they are almost guaranteed to make a healthy choice. Letting your child practice making independent food choices in environments where healthy options are easy will help prepare them to make good choices in all environments.
Mark your calendar to take a trip out to a nearby farmers market this weekend.
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