By Emily Meagher
Many of us start a new year with a fresh set of resolutions, new habits to live by for a healthier, happier self. But a few weeks in, the cold, dark winter can make it hard to keep up our motivation. If you can’t get your healthy food resolutions to stick, change the way you approach them. Instead of cutting out foods you love and feeling guilty when you inevitably “cheat,” upgrade your favorite comfort meals with real, fresh ingredients to treat both your body and soul. Here are a few tips on what to look for at the farmers’ market.
Back to the roots
In the winter months, farmers bring loads of root vegetables to the market. Himanee Gupta-Carlson from Squashville Farm takes this opportunity to get the comfort of a chicken pot pie in a healthier jacket. Make a roux with a good quality bone broth. Potatoes and turnips help thicken the sauce to reduce additional ingredients needed, and carrots add flavor and color.
Slow-cooked for the soul
Good quality, fresh meats don’t need many additives to taste great. Lay off on the salt and extra fats and enjoy a cut from the market in its full glory. Longlesson Farm’s Christophe Robert suggests trying beef shanks. It is a leaner (and cheaper) meat, cooked low and slow in a crockpot (bonus: your kitchen will smell amazing!). Simmer with non-starchy vegetables like carrots or turnips. Serve with a quick polenta made from Squashville Farm’s dried heirloom Abenaki corn. Then use the shank’s marrow bone to create a nutrient-filled bone broth, and blend it up with the stewed veggies for a hearty soup. Add in a statement ingredient towards the end of cooking, like beet or tomato, to add color.
Plant-based or gluten-free?
If you are trying a no- or low-meat lifestyle, mushrooms can provide a fantastic, bold alternative. Jeff Killenberger from 518 Farms suggests using brain-boosting lions’ mane to make “crab” cakes. Or go for sweet by combining lions’ mane, cinnamon, and sugar for a vegan and gluten-free “apple crisp.” Butternut squash can also lift a dish by adding nutrients, color, and creaminess. Try a vegan mac & “cheese” by replacing the dairy with butternut squash. Up the health factor by using whole-wheat pasta, or go gluten-free by swapping spätzle from The Vermont Spätzle Company.
This week’s recipe: Butternut Squash Macaroni & Cheese