The food we eat isn’t just meant for fuel, it’s meant to nourish. Eating REAL, whole food is the first step to improving your health and nourishing your body When we eat food that is in its most natural state, from fruits and veggies to pasture-raised animals, our body reaps the benefits!
What does it mean to eat seasonally? Eating seasonally is so much more than the (very welcomed) assault of pumpkin-flavored-EVERYTHING each fall. Picture this: you’re at a fall festival and you bite into a crisp, tart apple. In the chill of winter, you warm up with a bowl of homemade beef stew. And what about that 🎶watermelon sugar high 🎶 of summer? The foods we eat each season has a cultural and emotional tie to them! Eating seasonally can have a positive impact on our health and our community!
Here are some of the major benefits of eating locally grown foods in season:
- Its better for your health Foods that are grown and consumed during their appropriate season are more nutrient dense! When foods are grown out of season, they aren’t able to follow their natural growing and ripening rhythms. In order for certain fruits or veggies to be grown year-round, some producers use chemicals, heat, and gases as ripening agents.
- It tastes better: Have you ever noticed that the local strawberries (in season) taste much sweeter than the ones you buy in a pre-mixed fruit bowl? When produce is mass-produced, the flavor and nutrient quality suffers to meet the high demand. Some producers also focus on shelf life over flavor.
- It is better for the environment (and local economy!) When you buy commercially-raised produce from a big box store, have you ever thought: how far did this eggplant have to travel in order to be put on this shelf? Did it arrive by truck from out of state? Off an airplane? Locally grown produce is a great way to eat IN season. Plus, local produce doesn’t require far travel so the associated fuel emissions & transportation costs are low AND you are supporting local farmers!
- It’s cheaper! When fruits or veggies are in season, they are abundant which means- a lower price!
From a nutritional perspective, this is why I highly recommend for my clients to join local vendors like Fresh Fix, shop at a farmer’s market, or join a CSA:
- It encourages you to try new foods no one likes to eat baked chicken and broccoli every day (and, truthfully, this is a recipe for nutritional deficiencies!) When you make an effort to eat seasonally, you expand your taste pallet and cooking skills! Win-win!
- Nutrient VARIETY I’m a bit biased, but this is probably one of the most important reasons to eat local, seasonal produce. You know now that local produce is closer to it’s peak nutrient status, but did you know that this variety has a huge impact on your gut health?! It’s true! Eating a variety of fresh produce is key for a healthy, balanced gut (your good gut bacteria will thank you!)
Remember: with any nutritional changes, it’s good to start slow and steady- no need to overhaul your fridge! Some ways you can integrate seasonal eating into your home:
Next time you go to the store, try to pick some produce that is a featured seasonal (or local!) item that you have never tried before, check out your local farmer’s market or order from a produce delivery service like Fresh Fix (local to Buffalo) or Misfits Market!
To learn more about the produce that’s available where you live, check out seasonalfoodguide.org !