The Man's Guide to the Farmer's Market

When you hit up the farmer's market with your gal, do you see it as a chore or a fun activity to do together? Most guys tend to view it as something boring that they have to do to keep their special lady happy. But did you know that the farmer's market is a place where you can buy awesome veggies and fruits at a great price! Here's what you should be buying at your local farmer's market when you go:

Fennel

Fennel has an unusual flavor for a veggie--it's like a cross between celery and licorice root. You can eat it raw, grate it into your salads, add it into soups, or chop it to add into your meals. It's loaded with Vitamin C, as well as polyphenols that will help to reduce inflammation and promote healing. Look for fennel that has both green and white, and you'll get a VERY healthy addition to your food.

Asian Mushrooms

These mushrooms are plentiful at farmer's markets, where they can be sold freshly picked. They're much healthier than the button mushrooms you get at supermarkets, and are loaded with anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties. They're also one of the very few foods that contain Vitamin D, making them a very important addition to your diet. The firmer they are, the better! Any mushrooms that are too soft or slimy are best avoided!

Carrots

People often underestimate the value of carrots! Not only are these crunchy little veggies PACKED with dietary fiber--both soluble and insoluble--but they're loaded with the Vitamin A needed to keep your skin and eyes in good shape. Carrots are a low-carb energy boost to consume before your workout, and they're great for a pick-me-up once you finish. Most farmer's markets carry carrots, but look for the ones without the roots. The fresher the carrots, the easier the roots snap off.

Kale

It may not be your favorite veggie, but if you see it at the farmer's market, buy a lot of it. Kale is probably the best of the dark green leafy veggies, even better than spinach and broccoli. Kale is incredible for your heart, and it's packed with anti-inflammatory compounds that will reduce oxidative stress in your body. You even get a lot of Vitamin K in these leafy veggies, which will help to protect your eyes from being damaged by age and strain. The smaller the kale leaves, the better! Larger leaves tend to be bitter.

Snap Peas

This is one food that's often hard to find at supermarkets, but are usually available in your local farmer's markets. Snap peas make a delicious addition to any Asian cuisine, and you'll find that they're one of the tastiest of the legumes. Being a legume, they're high in protein but low in both calories and fats. Eat them raw, and you'll get A LOT of fiber, vitamins, and minerals from the little peas. You'll find that the fresher peas snap easily when you bend them.

Artichokes

These odd little veggies tend to cost a fortune at local supermarkets, but they're often much cheaper at the farmer's market. You can grill them, boil them, or steam them, and they're an amazing source of dietary fiber. They also contain a nutrient called silymarin, which is a powerful detoxifying agent that will help to flush toxins from your liver. The smaller artichokes usually have a better, sweeter taste, but you want to look for artichokes that have compact leaves and even coloring. You definitely need to take a few home!

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