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Go Further with Food: The Benefits of Buying Local

Posted by Maureen Garner, MS, RD, LD on Mar 28, 2018 10:31:00 AM

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March is National Nutrition Month. This year's theme not only encourages healthy eating habits, but urges us to find ways to cut back on food waste. Learning how to manage food resources at home will help you "Go Further with Food," while saving both nutrients and money.

Buy Locally Grown 

Shopping locally can be a great way to add healthy foods to your diet while conserving natural resources. That's why the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) encourages everyone to "Go Further with Food" by choosing foods that are healthful to the environment and your bodies during National Nutrition Month®. Shortening the distance between the farmer and you, helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions and benefits our environment and wildlife. When food doesn’t have to travel so far, it also is less prone to chemical, physical, and biological hazards.

Food purchased at farmers markets often is more affordable and tastes better than at commercial grocery stores because it is locally grown and naturally ripened. It also helps support your local economy! Plan ahead when you shop locally. Bring a shopping list and purchase foods you know how to prepare. Be sure to purchase ingredients for salads and produce for side dishes that go well with fish, chicken, or meat entrées. To prevent fruit from rotting in the fridge, estimate how many pieces you'll need for your lunches and snacks for the week.

To find farmers' markets in your area, go to localharvest.org. Bring your own plastic bags and shopping bags to the market. If you aren't going straight home after the market, bring a cooler to store heat-sensitive produce.

Reduce Food Waste

Storing your food correctly, will help you reduce waste and lower your grocery bill. In the United States, households throw away 31 percent of all edible food and nearly 28 percent of fruits and vegetables. To lower your food waste, AND recommends checking your refrigerator before shopping. Eat what you have in your home before buying more. 

Extra foods like fruits and meats can be frozen to extend their shelf life. Wrap freezer items in heavy freezer paper, plastic wrap, freezer bags, or foil. Date and label all of your frozen items and use the oldest food first. If you are unsure that a food in your refrigerator or freezer is safe to eat, follow the saying, "if in doubt, throw it out."

GA Foods and Locally Produced Foods

GA Foods is committed to using locally grown and produced foods in all of the markets we serve. Our distributor works with local farmers to source produce. We use a local dairy for our milk and a local bakery for our breads and rolls. 

Several of our meal options, including SimpleCookTM, uses frozen meals. Our frozen meals reduce costs and food waste, improve food safety, extend shelf-life, and retain the highest nutrient content. 

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