Step 1: Find your local farmers market
Shopping at farmers markets is a great way to stock up on fresh, healthy produce while also supporting your local farmers. If you’re a SNAP customer, be sure to find the closest market that participates in Double Up Food Bucks. Double Up Food Bucks program helps SNAP shoppers get free fresh fruits and veggies when they shop with their SNAP card at farmers markets. For every $1 spent on SNAP-eligible foods with a Quest EBT Card, customers get $1 to spend on any Arizona-grown fruits and vegetables, up to $20 per day.
Check out this map to find Double Up Food Bucks markets across the state, and visit our list of locations for the most up-to-date information on hours and market days.
While at the market, try to shop for fruits and veggies that are in season. When you buy seasonal produce, you buy food that's at the peak of its supply. That means you’ll get the best tasting, freshest food available. Oftentimes, you’ll also pay less for in-season fruits and veggies because they are cheaper to produce and harvest during the prime growing season.
Harvest times and in-season options vary depending on where you live. Use this chart to find out which fruits and veggies to look for at your market all year long. Check out the graphic below to see what produce is in season right now:
Step 3: Plan ahead
Planning ahead is an important step to help keep up with your new year’s resolution. However, before you start planning, you need to know how long your produce lasts. This website has tips on how to store almost any kind of fruit and vegetable and how long they will stay fresh and delicious.
In this blog, you can learn tips and tricks to keep your produce fresh longer, such as squirting avocado or guacamole with lemon or lime juice to prevent browning or storing apples with potatoes to prevent potatoes from sprouting.
You can also check out this blog for more meal prepping tips. Getting your little ones involved in meal prepping is a great habit to start in the new year, too – you’ll have another set of helping hands, and it can increase your children’s’ interest in healthy meals.
Step 4: Be prepared
Making healthy, produce-packed dinners can sometimes feel like a chore, but luckily there are tons of recipes out there that are easy to make, full of fruits and veggies, and that will bring variety to your meals each week.
If you doubled up at your farmers market and ended up with a little too much fresh produce, consider preserving fruits and veggies by either freezing or dehydrating them. This website has some tips on how to properly preserve your harvest. Also, think twice before you toss scraps and leftovers! Reusing veggies scraps can save you money and food, and helps prevent food waste. Learn about a few ways to salvage your scraps and turn them into delicious treats in this blog.
Lastly, chopping up veggies like bell peppers, green beans, celery or carrots at the beginning of the week and storing them in the fridge for a quick healthy snack will save time, and make you more likely to reach for a yummy, healthy snack.