When you eat seasonally, you not only consume foods in your area that are most ripe and nutrient-dense, but you are also helping local farmers and your community.
Among other things, when we practice a mindful eating style, we pay attention to where our food comes from and how it gets on our plate. Eating in season is a lovely way to practice mindful eating and become aware of where our food is coming from, appreciate the abundance that Mother Nature offers us in every season, and reduce the environmental impact we get from our food choices.
Eating with the seasons also enables us to nourish ourselves with an abundance of nutrient dense foods that provide our bodies with so many vital nutrients.
Discover the benefits of seasonal eating, an overview of what products are on offer when in season, and some tips to make seasonal dining a little easier and more enjoyable.
Benefits of seasonal food
Seasonal food offers so many advantages: freshness, nutritional profile, sustainability, connection to our food and pure enjoyment.
1. The food has the highest nutrient density
The product has the most nutrients right after harvest and then studies start to lose weight. So if you eat seasonal and local, the product is not only fresher but also more nutritious!
It is also important that the products grow until they are at their maximum maturity so that they can absorb all of the necessary nutrients.
Out of season products tend to be picked early and allowed to mature during transport or storage. This product is often kept in cold stores for months (so that it is available for the off-season) or shipped from around the world. Not only does this lower the nutritional value, it also has a major impact on the environment.
By and large, out-of-season products and foods that you can get at the grocery store all year round are still very nutritious. So don't hesitate to buy products all year round, but if you can and have access to a local CSA or farmer, try the local products in your area for the added benefit.
2. It's more sustainable
Basing your diet on in-season plant-based foods is a great strategy to support sustainability. Seasonal products help reduce greenhouse gas emissions when transporting and importing products. Local farmers are also more likely to practice sustainable or regenerative agriculture (and you can ask the farmer about their practices at the farmers market) than commercial operations.
3. You naturally eat more variety
Plants provide us with so many vital minerals, vitamins and antioxidants, and different foods have different nutritional profiles. Good nutrition involves eating a variety of whole plant-based foods so that we can preserve these various nutrients and the benefits they offer.
Of course, if you eat seasonally, you are changing your eating habits all year round so that you have plenty of variety in your diet year round. It also encourages you to get a little more creative in the kitchen and discover new recipes using vegetables or fruits that you may never have tried before.
Mother Nature has such a beautiful way of leading us to take care of ourselves as best we can!
What is produced is in season every season
What is in the season is very different from region to region. Use this as a rule of thumb and then get to know your region better! The easiest way to research this is to do a quick search on the internet by typing "seasonal produce in my area". A common list is drawn up from some sources. Otherwise, take a trip to the local farmers market and see what is available.
Winter seasonal products
Eating fruits in winter
Apples, avocados, bananas, grapefruit, kiwi, lemons, limes, oranges, pears, pineapples,
Eating vegetables in winter
Beets, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, celery, cabbage vegetables, leeks, onions, parsnips, potatoes, pumpkin, rutabagas, sweet potatoes and yams, Swiss chard, beets, winter squash
Autumn seasonal products
Eating fruits in autumn
Apples, bananas, cranberries, grapes, kiwi, lemons, limes, mangoes, pears, peas, pineapples, raspberries,
Vegetables to eat in autumn
Beets, peppers, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, cabbage vegetables, garlic, ginger, green beans, kale, mushrooms, onions, parsnips, peas, potatoes, pumpkin, radishes, rutabagas, spinach, sweet potatoes and yams, chard , Beets, winter squash
Spring seasonal products
Eating fruits in spring
Apples, apricots, asparagus, avocados, bananas, kiwi, lemon, pineapple, rhubarb, strawberries
Vegetables for eating in spring
Broccoli, cabbage, carrots, celery, cabbage vegetables, garlic, kale, lettuce, limes, mushrooms, onions, peas, radishes, spinach, Swiss chard, beets
Summer seasonal products
Eating fruits in summer
Apples, apricots, avocados, bananas, blackberries, blueberries, melon, cherries, honeydew melon, lemons, limes, mangoes, peaches, plums, raspberries, strawberries, watermelon
To eat vegetables in summer
Beets, peppers, carrots, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, garlic, green beans, lima beans, okra, summer squash, tomatoes, tomatoes, zucchini
Tips on eating with the seasons
1. Grow your own food or buy from local farmers
Growing your own food is the best way to eat seasonally. You will learn so much about your region and zone and what products thrive in your region. Not to mention, you can enjoy your products in their freshest and most ripe state right from your garden. Growing your own food is also a great way to connect with Mother Nature and live more mindfully, consciously, and slowly. Remember, you don't need acres of land for the garden – you can start small!
If you are unable to garden or if it's not your thing, the next best thing is to support your local farmers by shopping in the markets or ordering from a local CSA to find things which have season in your region as each region is a region slightly different. Your local farmers do the hard work to know what is in season, what is thriving in your area and what you are harvesting, and you can enjoy the variety and flavors of your area.
Whenever you shop at a grocery store, read a seasonal product guide for your area and keep it on your phone for easy reference when you shop. This will guide you through the product area and help you determine which products are from state or even more local suppliers and which are from further away.
2. Try 1-3 new foods each season
Challenge yourself to buy 1-3 new foods each season. If you are at a farmers market, you can ask the farmer for their recommendation of what is really good right now!
This will help you expand your tastes, find new things to enjoy, and challenge you to learn some new cooking skills to make this ingredient.
3. Dine farm-to-table in local restaurants
When eating out or ordering takeout, opt for a restaurant that changes its menu seasonally. This is another great way to try new foods, find new flavors to enjoy, and both appreciate the seasonal produce while promoting a more sustainable way of eating.
Ready to eat seasonally? Put it into practice
Remember that eating in season will add variety to your diet, provide you with the freshest, most nutritious foods, and support a more sustainable lifestyle. This doesn't mean you need to eat 100% in season all the time. It's good enough just to be more careful about eating more seasonal! It's perfectly okay to eat frozen, canned, or off-season products that you enjoy or can rely on to keep yourself well fed.
Out-of-season products and foods that you can get at the grocery store year round are still very nutritious. So do not hesitate to buy products all year round. However, if you have access to a local CSA or farmer, try the local produce in your area for the added benefit.
Now that you know the benefits of eating in season, know what products are available in season and when it is time to take your first step around this along with some tips to make eating in season more enjoyable and easier put into action in your own life.
What's one small step this week that you can take into action?