If you take a minute to do a quick online search about seasonal eating, you will find article after article talking about the benefits of seasonal eating on the environment, the local market, your health and even your bank account. But what is seasonal eating? How do you find out what’s in season or what is locally sourced?
We’re glad you asked.
What is seasonal eating?
Seasonal eating is very much what it sounds like – eating the fruits and vegetables that grow in your local region shortly after they’ve been harvested. Nowadays it’s so easy to forget that avocados aren’t harvested in Minnesota in December and strawberries definitely aren’t in season in Ohio in February. And yet, we can easily access this produce at any grocery store virtually any time of the year.
This is not a bad thing, but it does have a downside. Typically, produce grown out of season is less nutrient dense, more likely to have subjected to chemicals or pesticides and is probably more expensive. On the flip side, produce raised and harvested during its natural season offers many more nutrients, not to mention way better taste.
The benefits of seasonal eating
Eating seasonally offers countless benefits to your body, to the community and to the environment.
- Better quality – Foods transported miles across the country inevitably loose some of their nutrients and are likely preserved with unnatural chemicals to keep up their appearances. Seasonal foods, on the other hand, are fresher, transported from local farms and offer higher quality vitamins and minerals.
- Improved immunity – Buying produce rich in vitamins and minerals means you are putting more vitamin and minerals into your system. When consumed, these nutrients go straight to work, boosting the immune system with zinc, vitamins B and C, antioxidants and fiber. And the best time to get the highest nutrient content is through seasonal eating – like eating fresh broccoli in the fall to get the most vitamin C.
- Supports local community – Eating seasonally doesn’t just support your immune system, it supports the local farmers in your area. Whether you choose to buy eggs, vegetables or fruits locally, your support helps these farmers emphasize health eating.
- Better for the environment – When you do something good for you, it’s nice to know it’s helping a greater cause, too. Eating seasonally helps reduce the demand for transporting tons of out of season fruits and vegetables across the nation, thereby reducing carbon emissions. Not to mention its much more gentle on the planet to not spray harsh pesticides and chemicals across the fields.
With so many benefits, it’s hard to believe we ever considered eating any other way.
How to eat seasonally
To find out what’s in season in your area requires nothing more than a simple internet search, or a visit to a local farmers market. Keep in mind this list is not all-inclusive — just a nice starting point.
Food typically in season during the spring include:
Food typically in season during the summer include:
Food typically in season during the fall include:
- Acorn Squash;
- Brussels Sprouts;
- Butternut Squash;
- Sweet Potatoes.
Food typically in season during the winter include:
Whether they contain high amounts of beta carotene, like pumpkins or carrots, are rich in antioxidants, like berries and kale, or boosts your body in more way than one, incorporating these fruits and vegetables will strengthen your immune system from season to season.
Boosting your immune system through seasonal eating
When you use what is plentiful, seasonal and local in your cooking, you are giving your immune system the best that nature has to offer. With naturally better flavors, a higher vitamin count and all the aesthetic tastes of the season, you can experience a more diverse menu right in your own kitchen. Not only will your cooking skills improve as you learn to navigate various ingredients, your health, from immunity all the way to mental health, will begin to feel the positive effects of a diet rich in seasonal produce.
Start your journey toward seasonal eating today
Vitamins and minerals keep our bodies functioning the way they’re meant to, from being able to focus during school days to maintaining stamina throughout work to falling asleep at night. Nutrients affect our bodies, as we know, but doubly work to keep our mind healthy as well. Therefore, it’s important to tap into all available resources when it comes to getting the best sources of nutrients for our bodies, be it seasonal eating or nutritional planning.
In order to get your journey towards nutritional, seasonal eating started today, or to speak about the importance of healthy eating as a benefit to physical and mental health, contact Seeds of Hope today by calling 610-644-6464.