There are hundreds of fantastic things about Manitoba summers, but one that we humans have come to rely on year after year is the summer fruit and vegetable harvest.
Even if you don’t particularly have a green thumb, there are many, many farmers across the province whose livelihoods depend upon us purchasing their home-grown fruits and veggies – and this is great for us because fresh, local produce is a delicious and nourishing treat from the earth!
There are farmers markets weekly – or more often – across the province. Markets are a great place to pick up your produce and meet the people who grow it, and best of all you come away with nutrient-rich, low-fat, low-calorie, high-fibre food for you and your family to enjoy, which is important for cancer prevention and overall health!
Here are some tips for your next trip to the market:
Make a list
Once you arrive at the market, your eyes can be bigger than your stomach. To avoid purchasing more than your family can eat, come with a list of what you really need.
Plan to freeze or preserve
Our growing season is short in Manitoba, but with some preparation, we can make the summer harvest last throughout (or at least into) the winter months. It’s quite easy to freeze vegetables like beans, broccoli, and cauliflower and fruits like berries. Canning tomatoes or making jarred salsa involves some labour, but is so worthwhile when you open a jar of flavourful summer tomatoes in the dead of winter! Cabbage and pickles are great for fermenting or pickling for a crunchy snack, too.
Stick to the basics
Often there are other fantastic vendors selling bakings, pies, jams and other treats at farmers markets too – but keep in mind that just because something is “homemade” doesn’t make it healthy! Treats like cookies or other farmer’s market finds like popsicles, doughnuts and creamy iced coffee are exactly that – treats. Make vitamin- and mineral-rich foods the primary staple in your diet.
For more summertime nutrition tips, see this article by Gina Sunderland MSc, RD CancerCare Manitoba’s oncology dietician.
And while you’re enjoying your summer, remember that getting checked for cancer should be a regular part of your health routine: most women age 21 – 69 who have ever been sexually active should have a Pap test every 3 years, most women age 50 – 74 should have a mammogram every 2 years and men and women age 50 – 74 should do an at-home screening test for colon cancer every 2 years. Make sure you’re up-to-date, and remind a friend too! www.GetCheckedManitoba.ca