Once a month at the Wednesday Downtown and Saturday Pico Farmers’ Markets you will find the “Ask the Dietician” booth serving up healthy recipes and answering all of your nutrition questions. The Ask the Dietician program is sponsored by the Los Angeles County Health Department Nutrition Services. It is a public education program to promote better health by eating fresh fruits and vegetables. Current research shows that in addition to the vitamins and fiber found in fruits and vegetables, phytochemicals are a key component to reducing cancer and heart disease. The different colors of different fruits and vegetables also play an important nutritional role. For instance, red tomatoes are an excellent source of lycopene, which helps prevent prostate cancer. Health agencies, such as the American Cancer Society, recommend a minimum of five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables per day spanning these five colors: red, blue, green, orange, and white. What used to be the “eat 5 a day campaign” has changed to “more matters.” No matter how many servings of fresh fruits and vegetables you are eating, you should always eat more!
The Ask the Dietician program has a partnership with the Los Angeles County Farmers’ Markets. At the Ask the Dietician booth at the Farmers’ Markets, registered dieticians and volunteers prepare healthy recipes using seasonal produce from the Farmers’ Market and hand out samples to shoppers at the Market. Not only are they promoting nutrition, but also the Farmers’ Market and eating locally. Dona Richwine, a registered dietician and nutrition specialist for the Santa Monica- Malibu Unified School District, oversees the Ask the Dietician booth at the Santa Monica Farmers’ Markets. According to Dona, Ask the Dietician “combines health and using locally grown, seasonal produce. For me personally, it is the freshest and most nutritional produce and tastes better.” She also likes using food to teach. The recipes they prepare are healthy and tasty. If something tastes good you are more likely to make it yourself. Recently, Ask the Dietician prepared a simple and delicious pasta salad with heirloom tomatoes, garlic, basil and mint. The dieticians are also available to answer health and nutrition questions from the public.
Ask the Dietician is at the Downtown Santa Monica Farmers’ Market the first Wednesday of the month and at the Pico Farmers’ Market the second Saturday of the month. Visit their booth to taste their recipe of the month, get a copy of the recipe and get answers to your nutrition questions. You can also visit their website at lapublichealth.org/nutrition