Eat healthy on Canada Day 0
Happy Birthday Canada!
As you celebrate the day, I hope you'll take a little time and reflect how truly fortunate we are to be living in this country. We have freedom to live the way we want and express ourselves freely, relative peace (although, I know sometimes it doesn't seem that way) and an abundance of food to help nourish us. Just a quick read through the newspaper tells me daily how lucky we are to be living here.
It's also a delicious time of year. There is an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables available and wonderful ways to enjoy them at their freshest and ripest time.
Before I give you the news on all this wonderful bounty, I have to mention some more difficult news about the very same subject. The very unusual weather this spring has sent many Ontario growers into a tailspin. The early spring followed by some freezing April nights, has definitely affected some of Ontario's best. We're going to see very few Ontario cherries, apples, pears, apricots and sweet yellow plums. We'll still get Ontario peaches, nectarines, strawberries, raspberries, lots of greens and more. My heart goes out to the growers who will be so badly affected by this and I hope that as much as possible they will have recovered by next year. In the meantime, whenever possible, I encourage you to shop locally and support the Ontario growers at your grocers and at all the farmers markets.
Here are a few of the season's finest:
Fresh greens are delicious this time of year. Green peas, broccoli, assorted lettuces, kale, Swiss chard, spinach and bok choy are nutrient rich and low in calories. In general, the darker, the better when it comes to nutrition. They provide vitamins C and K, beta carotene, folate, potassium, fibre and are rich in disease fighting antioxidants. A half-cup of cooked spinach, for example, provides more than 25% of your daily recommended folate as does 1.5 cups Romaine lettuce. Fresh sugar snap peas are one of my favorite snacks and add great taste and crunch to salads and stir fries. If you visit a farmer's market, talk to the growers and ask them for cooking suggestions with all their produce.
Local strawberries provide amazing taste, are low in calories (about 40 per cup), and very high in vitamin C, with one cup containing almost 100 percent of your daily requirement. They are also a good source of potassium and fibre. Strawberries' red colour comes from anthocyanins, antioxidants that have been shown to work against cancer and heart disease. They are delicious at breakfast as a topping to cereal, pancakes or waffles, in yogurt or a smoothie and they make a great snack or an addition to a fruit or vegetable salad.
Corn: Nothing tastes more like summer than a juicy cob of corn. A cob of corn has about 120 calories, 4 grams of fibre , vitamin C, folate and it's also a rich source of lutein, the plant chemical that helps lower risk of macular degeneration. You can boil, steam or microwave corn and it tastes great done on the barbecue.
When shopping, be sure to stock up on fresh Ontario pork, beef, chicken, turkey, rainbow trout, eggs, duck, cheese and other dairy products. And, while you' re there, don't forget to pick up some fresh Ontario flowers to grace your Canada Day table.
Look for the Foodland Ontario symbol when shopping and for lots more information plus some great recipes visit their website at Foodland.gov.on.ca. And enjoy this day to its fullest!