Guest Blog by Christine Crosby
Christine is a long-time volunteer and former board member of the Coquitlam Farmers Market Society. She is reveling in this abundant season and, as usual, cannot leave a library without a couple of cookbooks in her arms, always looking for new ideas.
In the quest to increase the quality (nutrition) of our food and reduce the quantity of our food (calories) adding in more colourful fruits and vegetables can help you towards this goal. At market it can be quite easy to pick up nutritious and colourful items but when it comes to actually adding them into our meals that can be a bit trickier.
One of the easiest ideas I find is to diversify the colours in your food. For example: instead of just fried potatoes, add peppers, spinach and green onions. This gives you a more colourful, healthy and tasty dish! Add some protein to it and you’ve got a meal (a moderate amount, remember the “size of a deck of cards” rule). What else can you add colour to?
Another idea is to add some colour to your plate. So instead of having a full plate of macaroni and cheese have half a plate and add a colourful salad (greens, chopped salad, marinated…?) or a beautiful stirfry to one side of your plate. I love the contrast of the rich cheesy noodles with a tasty vegetable like broccoli, or a pepper, carrot and swiss chard stirfry.
For kids there are sneakier ways to add in nutrition and colour. Of course the classic way is to cook a bunch of shredded or diced vegetables until tender, then puree them into spaghetti sauce. Kale chips are all the rage, maybe your kids might like them? Recipes are readily available online, as well as websites that give you ideas on how to get your kids to eat healthier. Raw fruit and vegetables make great snacks for kids. Pack these snacks with a healthy dip, and your kids will grow to like this idea (for example: fruit yogurt for fruit, hummus for veggies).
Sometimes identifying a cooking method can help you come to love and enjoy new vegetables. Have you been putting vegetables on the barbeque? They taste amazing, with or without a sauce brushed on them (use any salad dressing you have in the fridge). I like to haveFriday night as pizza night: what is in season that I can add to my pizza? Make it as colourful as you can. One of the easiest items to add is sliced greens (spinach, chard, etc.).
Another way to add colour, and flavour, to your food is to add herbs and spices. It’s simple to add green seasonal herbs to your salads or stirfries (right at the end of the cooking so you get their fresh taste). Add a touch of Indian spice with a yellow curry powder or turmeric (have you tried a curry sauce on a pizza? Yum!). And of course there are the wonderful reds of paprika, chili powder or cayenne that will add some spark to your food.
The ideas and colours are endlessly creative. So when you leave the farmers market make sure you have some colour in your basket or bags and you can look forward to some very tasty and colourful meals this week, to feed both your body and your soul.