The third annual New Orleans Eat Local Challenge, hosted by the NOLA Locavores, starts this Saturday. The goal is to eat primarily foods that have been grown, caught or raised within 200 miles throughout the month of June. If you’re interested in incorporating more local foods into your diet, Molly has three local options that can stand in for everyday diet-friendly favorites!
- The Eat Local Challenge is divided into 4 levels, ranging from Ultrastrict to Ultralenient, and the NOLA Locavores provide plenty of guidance, including a buyer’s guide to finding local products ranging from meats to cheeses to wines, along with recipes and a list of more than 40 area restaurants that are offering all-local menu items.
- Increasing the emphasis on locally sourced foods benefits our local economy, environment and community, and it can also be more nutritious. Focusing on local-only (or local-mostly) foods also means more whole and natural foods, automatically eliminating or reducing our intake of pre-packaged (and often nutrient-poor) processed foods.
To make it easier for you, here’s a list of local options that can stand in for some everyday diet-friendly favorites:
In place of store-bought Greek yogurt: Rocking R Dairy (Tylertown, Miss., about 90 miles from New Orleans) offers nonfat Greek-style strained yogurt, available at the Crescent City Farmers Market.
Or make your own by straining plain low-fat yogurt through a cheesecloth. Pour the yogurt onto the center of the cloth, bring the edges of the cloth together to squeeze out excess liquid, then tie the cloth just above the yogurt and place into a strainer. Set the strainer into a larger bowl so that it doesn’t touch the bowl’s bottom and refrigerate for 2-3 hours or overnight.
In place of olive oil: Pecan oil, like olive oil, is low in saturated fat and rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats.
In place of peanut butter: Make your own homemade nut butter by blending 1½ cups of pecans (raw or lightly roasted), a tablespoon of sugar (optional), and a tablespoon of pecan oil.
Local seafood, dairy and produce are available in many grocery stores, and the following websites can help you find nearby farmers markets, family farms, and restaurants that use locally sourced ingredients: nolalocavore.org, realtimefarms.com, localharvest.org