In a journey to better health, one may not think of buying locally-sourced items straight away—it’s usually the low-fat, low-carb options that seem like the most practical. However, purchasing local foods can turn out to be good way to ensure that you’re taking in nutritious food. They don’t have much preservatives, and so you can be sure that you’re getting it fresh. There’s also the added bonus of a much better taste compared to processed foods. Add local foods to your regular wellness programs and healthy eating habits, and you’ve got a surefire way to get more physically fit. However, buying local may seem intimidating at first—so where exactly can you start?
1. Think of new recipes.
Try searching for new foods to change up your everyday meals. After all, no one can really stomach the same ham and cheese sandwich for the fifth time in a week. If you take a trip the local food stalls in your area, you could get some ideas for unique recipes. Maybe you’d find some iceberg lettuce that you’ve never tried before, or perhaps a new variety of tomato that could go well in a salad recipe you found online. Bringing the sort of mindset that’s open to new kinds of food would help you have something to look forward to every time you prep a meal. You’d be breaking the boring routine of having to eat the same meal all too often, which could help boost your mental health as well.
2. Be familiar with your local farmer’s market.
In order to even begin to find your new favorite local foods, you would need to get to know the nearest farmer’s market. It takes a quick online search—although you could also opt to take a walk around your area or neighborhood to see the locations of these different local markets. And of course, there is the option of simply asking around. If you check the markets regularly enough, you could familiarize yourself with the crops that the stalls are usually able to acquire. You would even be able to know what time the freshest batches of vegetables come in. Knowing all of these can definitely help you plan recipes as well as foster the habit of purchasing local foods.
3. Understand seasonal changes.
Not all vegetables grow in the same season. This is especially aggravated with the rising environmental issues. It can be hard to predict how much produce will actually end up in the farmer’s market, and this can take some getting used to. But as the farmers who harvest the crops adapt to the changing weather, so must your diet. It may help to research on the kinds of vegetables that grow in a certain season in order to be able to plan your meals better. This would make your mind think of the local produce as a regular occurrence, which would allow it to become more of a habit. If you’re able to think of Christmas or Halloween season regularly every year, then it could probably be the same for the local foods.
4. Find like-minded people.
One of the best ways to get into a habit is finding people who practice the same things you’d like to emulate. Getting into a group of people—or better yet, a club—who has made it a point to buy local could give you further motivation to make it a regular habit. There are likely a lot of clubs that you can find in your area by asking around or by searching through groups on social media. You could swap recipes and even get recommendations on which stalls in the farmer’s market sell the best quality of a particular crop. This “buy-local” club gives you a better way to hold yourself accountable rather than simply going at it alone and feeling overwhelmed or demotivated. It also makes the process all the more exciting, and it’s a great way to meet new people as well.
5. Think of your savings.
How could you make sure that you’ll keep on purchasing local foods as a part of your regular lifestyle? Thinking of all the money you could save is a great way to do so. It’s hard to say no to having a little bit of extra cash, which buying local can actually give. Local produce is actually a lot cheaper than grocery-bought food. Try to tabulate or at least keep track of how much you’d be spending regularly for local produce. And while doing so, you’ll be able to get a clear picture of how much exactly you are able to save. As it turns out, buying local is healthy for your wallet as well as your stomach.
New Habits, New Mindset
Trying to form new habits is never easy. It can definitely take a while to get used to something so foreign becoming a part of your regular routine. It’s important to remember, though, that any sort of change begins with a change in mindset. You might choose to buy local for a variety of reasons based on the tips given: improving your diet, saving money, or boosting your mental health. These motivations could help shape your mindset—and in turn help form a solid habit.