you are what you eat

How to ‘farmers market’ without breaking the bank!

Our stay in San Diego has begun and in trying to settle in, eat well, limit take outs- we decided to visit our local farmers market, just down the road in Hillcrest. I must admit, I absolutely love farmers markets!!! From people watching, to perusing through vintage clothing stalls and to tasting the different varieties of fruits from different regions. I can easily get lost and lose track of time!
We did a target run, and a walmart run. For different types of things we would need. We also wanted to stock up before we gave our rental car back! One of the things I do miss, is a good bag of lettuce. That I was not able to find.
The dietician in me will not allow my family to eat a diet devoid of fibre and fibre rich foods, fresh fruits and vegetables, lots of vegetable protein and a little bit of meat.
So at the farmers market, I found my lettuce and the most amazing tomatoes! I also bought a bag of homemade pesto, which will see me through a month!
But, farmers markets can be very expensive. Markets like this one aim at selling organic fresh locally grown fruits and ingredients to the public. Organic foods are those foods, fruits and vegetables which are grown without the usual pesticides and synthetic fetilizers. While meat and dairy are grown without any anti biotics or growth hormones. Definitely better for the body in the long run, but because it’s so expensive, not so good for the wallet.
When going into a farmers market, make sure to have a list of what you eat the most of, what you really want to get out of the list and how much you want to spend. We spend a little under $30 and if I convert that to rands, it’s definitely much more than what we intended to spend! Here are some tips to keep it realistic:

Buy and cook buy in bulk: ask the vender if he can sell you a little bit extra at a reduced cost. Vegetables like cabbage, green beans, peppers, chillies,butter and cheese and be bought, processed and frozen in bulk. Other foods that don’t perish that quickly are rice, tea, pasta, coffee and Canned goods. Make sure to consume fresh frozen foods within a 6 month period!
Start a buying club with neighbors and friends. This way buying in bulk can be divided between families and the cost of foods go down!

Be versatile: ease your way in. If you jump head first into organic buying you will waste a lot of food and money! Buy those foods you eat the most of. For me that’s tomatoes, eggs,milk, peppers, a green leafy vegetable and 2 fruits.
If it’s your first time at buying organic, choose one or two items. Take them home and taste them. Compare that taste to what you would regularly buy and notice the difference!

Limit animal products: try to buy animal proteins that are organic and have not been injected with hormones or anti biotics. This can be expensive so start to limit the amount of animal proteins you consume in your diet. If your family just loves their meat, start with a meat free meal on a Monday and slowly work your way from their. Make vegetarian dishes they are find of, starts with a vegetable based pasta and lasagne, to legumes, chick pea salads or meals and get adventurous from there!

Buy frozen: frozen products do not necessarily have less nutrients per gram than their fresh counterparts! Frozen vegetables are usually prepared and frozen on the farm they are grown at, so the time between picking and frees if is relatively short! Buying frozen produce will also mean vegetables on hand 24/7 so there is no excuse for an unhealthy meal anymore!

Purchase locally grown produce: locally grown foods are often best in terms of flavor and nutrition. Locally grown is also better for the environment as food flown in from other countries requires longer refrigeration and air transport which does impact the environment!

Grow and make your own: if you can start a vegetable garden, where you can plant your own seasonal crops and pick what you need fresh from the ground! If you don’t have green fingers or so not have access to a price of land, no worries, I’m sure te tips above will be more than enough to help you eat healthy and fresh produce all year round!
Snacks and certain cereals can be mixed at home at a fraction of the cost of buying these goodies!
Make your own trail mix by buying nuts, seeds and dried fruit in bulk, then package them into zip lock bags in the amounts that will be enough per snack. The bags can often be reused and recycled!
Muesli can also be made in bulk using whole rolled oats when discounted or on promotion! Add seeds, vanilla extract, nuts and some dried fruit to keep things interesting!
Instead of buying commercially made breakfast bars, make your own. Use the internet to search for different recipes and ideas!

My organic basket which will keep us going:


Peppers and marrows for a stir fry and Asian inspired meal.
Eggs are a great protein, egg sandwiches, omelettes for breakfast (or supper).
Lettuce, peppers and tomatoes for sandwiches, salads, wraps.
Fresh fruit at breakfast and for snacking!


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This entry was posted on August 12, 2014 by in Healthy Weight Tips and tagged , , .
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