Farmers Markets Provide Fresh Nutrition

By Toni Lynn Davis, MHA, CNHA, FACHCA
CEO and President Green Hill Inc.

Summer provides a wealth of fresh fruits and vegetables that are the mainstay of a healthy diet for elders. Lean protein, complex carbohydrates, and loads of leafy green vegetables and fresh fruits are the foundation of a healthy body at any age.

Farmers Markets are a great place to have access to the best locally grown fruits and vegetables, and a wonderful activity for getting outside and enjoying fresh air, and community. Tomatoes, cucumber, peppers, berries, melons, peaches and pears are all available at summer time, and great sources of nutrition. Fresh lettuce, spinach and kale are all readily available at farmer’s markets.

The WIC & Seniors Farmers Market Nutrition Programs (FMNP) provide locally grown unprepared fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs to nutritionally at-risk pregnant, breast-feeding, or post-partum women, children 2-5 years old as well as eligible seniors 60 years of age and older.

Learn if you are eligible for WIC assistance and use those coupons at a Farmers Market near you. Many local farmers will accept them. If you are not eligible for WIC assistance recognize that purchasing fresh fruit and vegetables at your local Farmers Market is an economical and healthy way to shop for the food that will provide you with the highest level of nutrition, and is oh so delicious too!

1-Find out if you are eligible to receive WIC coupons visit.
http://www.state.nj.us/agriculture/divisions/md/prog/wic.html

2- Visit Jersey Fresh NJ to find out if the Farmers Market near you accepts WIC.
http://jerseyfresh.nj.gov/find/community.html

3-Eat many different colors and types of fresh and local vegetables and fruits.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recommends eating Fruits—1-1/2 to 2-1/2 cups
and Vegetables—2 to 3-1/2 cups
http://www.nia.nih.gov/health/publication/healthy-eating-after-50
4- Get outside in the fresh air and walk around your local Farmers Market for exercise, socialization and nutritious food shopping.