Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Adding excitement and variety to your meals

I’ve known about co-op programs for ordering produce for some time and have been looking for an opportunity to try one.  Just last week I was delighted to learn of a local co-op from one of my patients!  Community Helpings Produce Co-op takes orders and sets up deliveries all over the St. Louis area.  I was SO excited (perhaps a little overly excited) to place my order.  Not only do you get a larger quantity of produce for a smaller price tag (great), but it’s also super fresh!  And the mystery makes this experience even more fun—you don’t find out what’s going to be in the basket until a few days before your pick-up is scheduled.  Food challenge anyone?

All of us get stuck in that rut of "meal repeat" and begin craving something new.  Utilizing a co-op creates a fun and exciting way to eat.  Even if you’re just hunting for a deal or looking for ways to make fresh produce more affordable for your family, it’s a great way to add variety to your meals.  You’re pushed to try new foods that you may not have picked up off the shelf at the grocery.  For example, this week, I’ll be challenged with using a FRESH coconut.   I’ll let you know how it goes…  It’s also a great opportunity to get creative by finding new ways to use the same old ingredients you’ve cooked with before.  Not to mention, it’s a terrific way to include more fruits and vegetables in your family’s diet!  Make it a game—find new recipes together and experiment with cooking new foods. What better way to peak interest and encourage learning about nutrition?

This week in my $23 basket I got: 6 large bananas, 6 large apples, a pint of blueberries, 12 small peaches, two coconuts, 3 Arkansas tomatoes, 5 limes, a head of green leaf lettuce, 2 eggplant, 1 stalk of celery, 1 pound of baby carrots, 2 red onions, 5 pounds of Russet potatoes and 2 romaine hearts.  Can't beat it.  My husband was skeptical at first, but now he's even happy!

For more information on Community Helpings Co-op, visit their website.  It’s easy to register and place your order.  Then just choose your preferred delivery site and arrive during pick-up hours for a basket blossoming with fresh produce!  Easier than the grocery store.  And definitely Good Food.