Q&A with Lisa Poggas, RD: How to take a (healthy) bite out of February

Bright health default image for the food category. Bowl of healthy granola, yogurt and fruit.

There’s nothing quite like sinking your teeth into a ripe piece of fruit. Packed with flavor, bursting with nutrients and grown with limited or no pesticides, foods that are in season are better for your health and your wallet. Identifying foods that are in season is the key to tastier, healthier meals at lower price points.

We caught up with Lisa Poggas, MS, RD, the nutrition and environmental services director at Parker Adventist Hospital , to help Coloradoans eat seasonally this February.

Q: Which foods are in season this month in Colorado?
A:** Potatoes, apples and onions are in season in February. Nearby states offer arugula, lettuce, spinach and radishes.

Q: What are the nutritional benefits of these foods?
A:** Overall, these three foods help to lower blood pressure and decrease the risks of cancer, diabetes and heart disease. Specifically, potatoes are good sources of potassium, phosphorus, choline, fiber, folate and vitamins C and B6. Apples are a full of antioxidants, phytonutrients, flavonoids and fiber. Onions are low in calories and high in vitamins, antioxidants and flavonoids.

Q: Where is the best place to shop for organic produce, especially during the winter season when farmers markets are not as plentiful?
A:** Fortunately, many grocery stores have upped their game for organic produce and other items. While Whole Foods Market offers the most variety, it can also carry the heaviest price tag. Sprouts Farmers Market, Natural Grocers, King Soopers, Safeway, Walmart and Target carry a great selection at good price points.

Q: How can consumers know the food they are buying is locally sourced?**A:** Consumers can look for the Colorado Proud  logo to identify products produced in Colorado.

Q: What are the benefits of eating foods that are in season?**A:** Foods that are in season are fresher, more flavorful and contain more nutrients than foods out of season.

Q: How can people experiment with in season produce that they may be unfamiliar cooking with?**A:** Check out online resources, such as Foodgeeks , Recipedia  and Bon Appétit  for recipe ideas.

Author: Stephanie Sample

February 21, 2017