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A Winning Way to Eat More Veggies

February 28, 2013 by Dean Simmons, Registered Dietitian

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If you ask people about their healthy eating goals, “Eat more vegetables” usually ranks amongst the top three. It’s great to have a healthy eating goal, but it’s even better to have a strategy for achieving that goal.

In my home, our most effective strategy for increasing our vegetable intake has been to join a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program early each spring. We pay in advance for a 16 week share of the harvest. The cost of a share varies across CSA programs, but as an example, my family’s half share costs us about $22 per week. I think this is a good value for a weekly bin full of super fresh, high quality seasonal vegetables. Splitting a CSA share with a friend is a great way to lower the cost of joining, and can also keep you from being overwhelmed by a weekly bin of more vegetables than you may be used to eating.

The family vegetable intake increases dramatically when we begin to receive produce from ‘our’ CSA farm. Typically, vegetables become the focus of our meal planning as we try to build meals around the produce we received that week. It can be a challenge to use it all up before the next week’s delivery, but taking on that challenge easily doubles our vegetable consumption.

If eating more vegetables is one of your healthy eating goals, I encourage you to sign up for a CSA program in your region.

What is a CSA? CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. In a CSA program, members partner up with a local farmer and buy a share in the season’s harvest. You pay the farmer early in the spring when they have the most expenses planting the crops. Then, over the growing season the farmer delivers a weekly share of the harvest to a local drop-off point for you to pick up. You spend the week eating through a pile of fresh, local and high quality vegetables, and then return the bin the following week. Many CSA programs include the opportunity to visit the farm during the growing season.


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