My Top 5 Saskatchewan Grown Foods
October is Agriculture Month in Saskatchewan. This creates a great opportunity to reflect and appreciate where our food comes from, and to share our stories about food whether we grow it or love to eat it. I grew up in a small town and was surrounded by farmers and ranchers. I have relatives who farm in both Alberta and Manitoba, and a brother-in-law who raises cattle near Rocanville, SK. From a young age, my mom took me along to the summer farmers' market to pick up local vegetables, eggs, and BC fruit. Although I wasn't raised on a farm, I certainly had insight into what it takes to grow food on the prairies. This is all part of my personal food story as I reflect on where it all began. I share a little more about my food story in this clip here...
Today, my food story is very much intertwined in my profession as a registered dietitian. Part of that role is supporting others with grocery shopping, making meals from basic ingredients and fresh food, understanding where food comes from, and reassuring that our food supply is safe. Not only because it's my job but because I believe in Canada's farmers, ranchers, and food systems.
In celebration of Agriculture Month, I've put together my top list of Saskatchewan-grown foods that I love, including recipes:
So many reasons I love oats. First, Oats contain a key component called beta glucan which has been shown to help lower LDL cholesterol. Secondly, oats contain resistant starch, which escapes digestion and provides fermentable carbohydrates that healthy gut bacteria use to grow. Finally, at 8 grams of protein per 1/3 cup steelcut oats, they add a good dose of protein to your meals. I love a morning bowl of hot oats with seeds, berries, and brown sugar, but these Apple Cinnamon Breakfast Muffins are another great use for oats.
Lentils are a lean, mean plant-based protein and I love that lentils contribute to a sustainable crop system (they're nitrogen fixers!). Nutritionally, lentils offer a meat alternative source for zinc and iron, yet also provide folate and potassium – two nutrients that many Canadians are not getting enough of. New to lentils? Try this easy Red Lentil Pasta Sauce or this Curried Butternut Squash and Lentil Soup. And you simply can't go wrong with my Lentil, Oat, and Chocolate Chips Cookies.
Local root veggies such as potatoes, beets, and carrots are easy to find at the Farmers’ Market or grocery store during the summer and Fall months. Potatoes are a great source of potassium which helps to lower blood pressure. Carrots rich in beta carotene, are an important antioxidant which helps to scavenge free radicals that cause inflammation in the body. And beets contain nitrates (different from those found in processed meats), which improve blood flow and reduce blood pressure. My husband's favourite dish is a Roasted Beet and Quinoa Salad, or you might mix them all together into a lovely Borscht.
Despite popular belief, the cholesterol found in egg yolks is not tied to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Eggs are a great source of high quality protein, they’re affordable, and they contain important nutrients such as iron, vitamin E, and choline. I love these Muffin Tin Omelets as an easy, grab-and-go breakfast or snack option.
Two qualities that make flaxseed stand out – fibre and omega 3 fatty acids. Just one tablespoon of ground flaxseed contains 2 grams of fibre and meets an adult’s daily recommended intake of omega 3 called alpha-linoleic acid (an essential fat that we need to consume in the diet). Fibre helps to slow digestion, keeping us feeling full for longer, and supports a healthy gastrointestinal tract. Best of both worlds in one seed. I often use ground flaxseed in baking, in my oatmeal, in a smoothie, or in this awesome Scratch Granola. recipe.
Take a moment to reflect on where your food story begins and what it is today. Appreciate our local food supply because our local food producers are doing one heck of a job! Happy Saskatchewan Agriculture Month.