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5 Farmer’s Market Foods You Can Make in the Microwave

If you are like many collegiettes, you are not looking to gain the “Freshman 15.” One of the keys to avoiding this dreaded phenomenon is eating healthy—including daily fruits and veggies. Want to know where to find the freshest fruits and vegetables around?

Every Wednesday, on GWU’s Foggy Bottom campus (on the Eye Street Mall, just past the Metro), local farmers set up shop at the FreshFarm farmer’s market, bringing cheeses, breads, baked goodies, and locally grown fruits and vegetables! But before you head over there, you might have one last concern: Wait a minute, how do I even prepare these fruits and veggies in my dorm room?

Worry not, health-minded collegiettes! Here are 5 in-season September picks you can make in your dorm room microwave:

1. Butternut Squash
This super-veggie has 457% of the daily recommended amount of Vitamin A, and is also a good source of fiber, potassium, and magnesium. While yummy in soups—and even as a filling for ravioli—butternut squash is equally tasty on its own.

To make it in the microwave, wash and pierce it (so it doesn’t explode all over the microwave). Lay it whole in a shallow dish and microwave it for 5 minutes. Remove the squash and halve it, scooping out the pulp and seeds. Microwave for another 5 minutes, and scoop out the flesh to enjoy!

2. Eggplant
Eggplant is a full-fiber veggie with potassium, magnesium, calcium, and phosphorous, as well as antioxidants. Well-known in dishes like baba ganoush (a Middle-Eastern eggplant dip), and in Eggplant Parmesan, eggplant is a purple powerhouse well worth incorporating into your diet.

After washing and slicing off the stem, pierce the skin of the eggplant and place in a microwave-safe dish. Cover the eggplant with plastic wrap and microwave for 8 minutes.

3. Zucchini
This green cucumber-look-alike is packed with antioxidants like folate and Vitamins A & C, as well as the essential nutrient manganese. Zucchini can be baked into bread, enjoyed as Parmesan-crusted fries, and especially steamed. To microwave zucchini, slice it lengthwise and place in a microwave-safe dish. Microwave 6 to 8 minutes or until tender.

4. Sweet Potatoes
This yummy Thanksgiving-pie staple is chock full of important nutrients, including Vitamins C & D, iron, and beta carotene. Sweet Potatoes are a classic fall food and can be enjoyed in fry form, mashed, and especially whole.

To microwave it, scrub the dust and dirt off the sweet potato, pierce multiple times with a fork, and cover with a damp paper towel. Microwave for 6 to 8 minutes or until soft.

5. Apples
Apples are a delicious treat that can be enjoyed year-round. In addition to containing filling fiber and bone-protecting boron, the pectin in apple skin has been shown to lower cholesterol. So why is a fresh fruit like apples on this list? Apples can be microwaved and sprinkled with cinnamon for a tasty fall treat. Here’s how to microwave them:

Remove the core of the apple by halving it and making two v-shaped cuts. Cut the apple into slices and place in a microwave-safe dish drizzled (thinly) with vegetable oil. Sprinkle apples with cinnamon and microwave for 2 to 3 minutes, stopping halfway through to make sure the apples don’t burn.

Coupled with exercise, maintaining a nutritionally balanced diet is the key to avoid gaining that dreaded “Freshman 15.” With a little help from the local farmer’s market, GW now makes it easier than ever to access locally sourced, affordable fruits and vegetables (did I mention that the Foggy Bottom FreshFarm farmer’s market now takes GWorld?). Now, if only getting up for an 8 a.m. was this easy…

Links:

http://gwtoday.gwu.edu/farmers-market-take-gworld-year
http://www.ehow.com/how_5818256_cook-butternut-squash-microwave.html
http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/butternut-squash-packed-with-vitamin-…
http://www.livestrong.com/article/19046-nutritional-benefits-eggplant/
http://www.ehow.com/how_6195165_cook-eggplant-microwave.html
http://www.care2.com/greenliving/9-reasons-to-love-sweet-potatoes.html
http://www.healthdiaries.com/eatthis/8-health-benefits-of-zucchini.html
http://www.cooks.com/rec/view/0,1650,151164-226201,00.html
http://www.healthdiaries.com/eatthis/10-health-benefits-of-apples.html
http://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detail.asp?recipe=149777
http://www.nandyala.org/mahanandi/?p=403

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