Summer is one of the easiest times for healthy eating since there is a huge selection of fresh produce, but it takes more than just eating fruits and vegetables to have a healthy lifestyle.
One of the most important things to remember when dealing with food is how to properly store and prepare foods. Isabel Mejia, a local nutritionist, said of all the summer picnics this year, one in six will get sick from food-borne illnesses. Mejia suggested always washing hands before handling any type of food, and keep cutting spaces for produce and meats separate. She stressed the importance of washing fruits and vegetables before using them, especially those treated with pesticides.
“(For fruits and vegetables that are) not organic, soak for five minutes and it will help lift the residue,” Mejia said.
Use Organic and Fresh Foods
The summer presents plenty opportunities to buy fresh foods that have not been affected by pesticides and bacteria. A common misconception is that organic foods are more expensive, but at local farms, they are actually cheaper. Mejia bought half a grocery bag of fresh herbs from Bascom Farms, located behind Smith’s in Orem, for only $3, whereas a small container of basil could cost $4 at the store. Also Bascom Farms lets customers pick their own herbs.
Once organic herbs have been purchased, it is sometimes hard to keep everything fresh. The herbs typically are freshest within a couple days after being picked, but sometimes the herbs need to last a little longer for parties and events. Sam Oteo, local chef opening his own restaurant Tortilla Bar, said to help the herbs look and stay fresh, wash them and put them in a damp towel.
“The damp towel keeps herbs fresh and will keep nutrients alive.” Oteo said.
Trying different foods will make eating much more enjoyable and fun, instead of just eating the same bland foods everyday. Mejia tells her clients to be willing to experiment not only with different foods but how those different foods are prepared and combined. Angela Essma, from Twin Falls, Idaho, studying elementary education, used to work for a nutrition and health store called Pure Elements. At Pure Elements Essma was able to learn many things about food, including eating a variety of foods, with variety in color.
“Eat different colors because our bodies need different colors just to function,” Essma said.
The different colors provides an assortment of nutrients to the body.