Part of eating a whole, healthy diet – which I believe is the best way to eat – is being conscious of seasonal produce. Eating with the seasons is not only a fun way to change up your grocery list, but allows you to get the most nutritional bang for your buck.
Because it’s often the larger corporations that provide out of season produce (which can come from all over the world – losing much of its nutritional value along the way), it’s likely that your grocery store gets seasonal food from local farms and suppliers.
And thus, when you eat seasonally, there’s a good chance you’re also eating local – which is better for you, the farmers, and the environment. Food experts at MotherEarthNews.com suggests, “When it happens, this synergism between season, farmer and patron is a dance that honors the natural ebb and flow of production. Cyclical menus stimulate an awe and respect for local food connections.”
So, when you choose to eat with the seasons, you’re making a conscious whole food decision that’s better for everyone – but where do you start?
Knowing Your Seasonal Foods
Your first step to eating seasonally is to know what seasons bear what fruits and veggies. While there are more than I could list here, consider some of these popular options:
- Spring: blood orange, rhubarb, purple broccoli, chives, parsley, peas, spinach, apricot, spring onion, asparagus, cauliflower
- Summer: raspberries, strawberries, mint, cucumber, asparagus, tomatoes, figs, sweet corn, spuds, onion
- Fall: apples, mushrooms, pears, carrots, Jerusalem artichokes, nectarine, brussel sprouts, kale, parsnips, butternut squash, blackberries, plums
- Winter: pomegranate, leeks, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, squash, cauliflower, spinach, watercress
Now that you know what you to look for this spring, it’s time to consider what you can cook with those fresh goodies. From breakfast to dinner, see how much seasonal produce you can include. If you’re unsure, start with these basic options:
- Breakfast: Eggs and blood orange; it’s easy, cheap and you still get your protein from the eggs, plus vitamin C, folate and fiber from the orange.
- Lunch: Switch out your usual salad for steamed purple broccoli and your protein of choice. Top your steamed broccoli with salt, pepper, red wine vinegar, and olive oil.
- Dinner: Instead of falling back on the standard veggie stir-fry, pair your protein with garlic cauliflower mash or grilled asparagus.
Eating with the seasons is a smart way to take better care of you, your environment and consequently the farmers who are supplying the freshest produce. Be sure that you know what to look for when you hit the grocery store next – to make it easier, plan your meals before going so you can get everything you need instead of falling back on the same old thing.
About the Author: Jessica Sanders is a professional blogger and writing for a variety of publications about women’s health and lifestyle. She helps families stay healthy and shares her health knowledge across the web including her own blog, Will Run For Food.