Fresh fruits and vegetables can be hard to come by, and with the temptation and ease of fast food and can be hard to stick to a healthy diet. Though this list is not extensive, this article attempts to help address some of the most common and daunting obstacles: I do not have time, the store is too far, too expensive, or too complicated. It can be a task so daunting and unfamiliar, where does one even start?
Online resources are an incredible thing! Here are just a few to help keep your kitchen full of fresh fruits and vegetables. Take a look at the USDA’s Local Food Directories. Here, you can find directories for farmer’s markets, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), and more. This resource is available nationwide, and you can determine how far you are willing to travel.
Farmer’s Markets are a great way to support local growers and get a wide variety of foods. Do not be afraid to try something new and different, as most tables will have samples out. For a step-by-step on how best a farmer’s market, check out our article How-To: The Farmer’s Market. CSA’s are another easy way to explore new fruits and vegetables. With CSA’s, you will usually pick them up (you may be lucky enough to have them delivered!) weekly. The foods are predetermined, and though this may add time to your prep, luckily you have Cook For Your LIFE’s recipes to help you make fun, new dishes.
Other online produce shopping options are, Fresh Direct, Peapod, Instacart and AmazonFresh, or you can go with a meal kit service like Blue Apron and many more. With these options, you shop online, and the foods are delivered to your house. For meal kits, prices can either be fixed per week or can vary depending on what you order. These options are a great way to save time if you cannot make it to the store. It can also help you focus on the foods you need rather than want, helping you to save money. If you’re on SNAP, check to see if the service nearest to you works with the program, as many do.
NYC Green Cart Initiative
If you are an NYC resident, I am sure you have seen the green NYC umbrellas popping up everywhere; these are from the Green Cart Initiative. The Green Cart Initiative are mobile food carts that help bring competitively priced fresh fruits and vegetables to neighborhoods that tend to have a more “limited access to healthy foods.” With a wide variety of tropical fruits, this is a great tool to add to your arsenal. For more information with regards to location and types of produce, and to get info in other languages, take a look at their website.
Sometimes the most daunting thing about groceries is just finding a way to get them back home, especially if you don’t have a car. One good option is checking to see if your grocery has a home delivery system. There is an additional cost, usually depending on distance and/or neighborhood. This option may take some redistribution in your budget, but there are many upsides. First, you still get to handpick the fruits and vegetables you want whereas an online option has people deciding for you. Secondly, if you’re tired from treatment, it will save valuable energy as you do not have to worry about getting everything back to your house, especially if you live in a walk-up as many of us in New York do. Need canned beans? A gallon of orange juice? No problem! They will get it all to your house for you!
In conclusion, sometimes you need to bring the health food to you, and there are many ways to keep fresh fruits and vegetables around you. It may still be scary and overwhelming but as with anything practice brings progress, and things become easier. As stated, this list is not extensive, but hopefully, will serve as a nice warm up to new, and different ways to keeping your diet varied and healthy.