Spring Greens

Posted on April 5, 2009 by

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Jamie Lynn

Spring has sprung in Montana and we just started our seeds this weekend; salad greens, spinach, basil, tomatoes, I love this time of year. The kids love it, too.  The excitement each morning, as they run into the kitchen to see if any green sprouts are popping through the soil, what a great way to start the day. Soon enough the soil will be warm enough to move them all outside.

However, some people just do not have the time or space to grow greens in their window. Well, no worries, what about getting involved in your local Community Shared Agriculture (CSA) program.  We are fortunate here in the Flathead Valley to have a few CSA’S to choose from and all of them are amazing.  Community Shared Agriculture is a perfect way for you and your family to get involved in growing your food.  From May to October simply stop by the farm and pick up your weekly distribution of vegetables, salad greens, snap peas, broccoli, onions, potatoes, just to name a few.  If you want to be a bit more involved, most farms encourage families to volunteer to help out at the farm.  As a parent, it is so important for our children to know where our food is coming from.  The more involved children are in the growing of their food, the more likely they are to eat their vegetables.  Kids love to play in the dirt, why not play with the dirt their food is growing in.

The saying, “Who’s Your Farmer,” does not only apply to your vegetables.
Not only are CSA’s important, buying local meat is just as important.  During the last few years, our food sources are becoming more and more uncertain.  We really do not know where or how far our meat has traveled to get to our plates.  Check out the book, Omnivores Dilemma, by Michael Pollan, and find out more details about our current food situation. Knowing exactly who your farmer is ensures that you exactly what the meat you are eating have been fed.  Here is an example; many of the clients I work with have corn sensitivities, however even when they stop eating all corn products their reactions do not get better. Why?  Most commercial beef and chicken has been pumped full of corn in the form of corn by products, it helps to fatten up the animal before slaughter.  So you many think you are not actively consuming corn, but if you are buying commercial meat from the grocery store, you are still eating corn.

Look into Community Shared Agriculture and other local farmers in your community. It has become very popular and extremely affordable. If nothing else, head out to your Saturday Farmers Market to purchase your weekly supply of fresh veggies.  For me, knowing that my veggies traveled less than 10 miles to get to my plate is a wonderful feeling.  Buy local and get involved in your community, it feels great to know exactly where your food is coming from.

Feeding Your Family

As we head into summer and the heart of the growing season, more and more fresh veggies begin to come out of the garden and farmers markets will start as early as the mid may, depending on where you live they may already be up and running.    I often have clients ask, “How do I get my kids to eat what I eat?”  Here are a few simple ideas:

•    Add a handful of spinach or other fresh greens to a smoothie
•    Oven roasted veggies: parsnips and rutabaga look just like potatoes
•    Chop up some greens and add them to chili
•    Fried rice with veggies, chop them small and fool them every time
•    Add a bit of sweet potato or yam to a smoothie with banana, blueberry and protein powder
•    Flaxseed in smoothies
•    Cut up carrots and celery to dip in almond butter and hummus, made from scratch of course

Feeding your kids does not have to be difficult.  Keep their food as simple as your food.  Pack more protein into their lunches, tuna on a rice cake, hard boiled eggs, you will be amazed at how much better they feel and sleep when they get a bit more protein. Remember how you felt when your protein intake increased, allow your kids to feel that way too.  Keep it fun and let them be part of making their lunches, allow them to shop with you.  Kids want to feel good; they just need our help to figure out how to do it.  Exercise and good food, it feels our souls and our kids.

Posted in: Food For Thought