9 April 2013 Trying to Lose Weight & Eat Healthier? Join a CSA!

Here's a creative way to help you lose weight and eat healthier — join a CSA (“Community Supported Agriculture”). These are farms that allow consumers to buy “shares” in advance of the growing season. Payment to you is made in the form of weekly boxes of produce — fresh and seasonal from the farm. Some CSAs will deliver the produce directly to your doorstep whereas others designate a pick up spot, typically their farm.

Benefits

Joining a CSA will provide you with a plentiful supply of fresh, seasonal fruit and vegetables throughout the entire growing season. This is good for healthy eating and weight control since it encourages:

  • Consumption of foods high in nutrients yet low in calories
  • Consumption of high fiber foods
  • Consumption of high water content foods
  • Consumption of higher potassium-lower sodium foods — also good for blood pressure

All eating styles support a generous intake of non-starchy veggies and these are typically a very generous share of your produce box. Non-starchy veggies are those that contain less than 5 grams of total carbs per serving (1/2 cup cooked or 1 cup raw) and include veggies such as spinach, chard, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, onions, carrots, beets, herbs, tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, green beans, artichokes, asparagus, and many others.

Seasonal Produce

Where you live determines the type of fruits or vegetables available during the growing seasons. CUESA has a helpful website that includes seasonal produce charts as well as recipes. Right now, it is likely that these items are starting to grow if your season is now spring:

Spring Veggies. Artichokes, sweet onions, arugula, turnips, asparagus, beets, carrots, chard, fava beans, fennel, green garlic, greens, leeks, lettuce, mint, parsley, peas (snap & snow), radishes, and spinach.

Spring Fruit. Apricots, strawberries, cherries, kiwi, kumquats, lemons, navel oranges, rhubarb.

Shared Risk

If you live in an area that has experienced a poor growing season and you are a part of a CSA, then you have helped a local farm survive a bad spell. It also means you get less in your produce box for that season. That is the risk you take.

Recipes

Cooking Light's Top-Rated Vegetable Recipes

Eating Well's Slimming Vegetarian Dinners

Enjoy your exploration into CSAs as a way support your local farmer as well as to improve your intake of local and seasonal fresh fruit and veggies for weight control and health!

Katherine Isacks, MPS, RD, CDE
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Disclaimer: The information provided here does not constitute medical advice. If you are seeking medical advice, please visit your healthcare provider or medical professional.

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Foods & Recipes/Fruit & Vegetables

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