Why should you eat seasonal fruit and veggies?
Eating seasonally is a great way to stay healthy, boost your immune system, help reinforce your healthy lifestyle, save you money, and be more environmentally friendly. It’s true! Take a look at what seasonal eating is, how to do it, and what are the best seasonal foods for the summer.
WHAT ARE SEASONAL FOODS
Seasonal foods are exactly as the name implies, foods that are currently in-season. Although our grocery stores stock our favorite foods year-round, did you know that not all of them are in season all the time? For instance, avocados are in season in California from spring to summer. During the winter and fall, avocado trees in California become dormant or grow significantly slower so most likely, those avocados you're enjoying in the colder seasons are coming from our neighbors in the South and traveling quite a distance to make it onto your plate.
Eating seasonally is also great for your overall health. Not only is seasonal produce delicious but it’s also nutrient-packed. Produce picked at the peak of their season get more sun exposure making them higher in antioxidants, Vitamin C, folate, and beta-Carotene compared to the off-season.
Along with being beneficial for your health, eating seasonal foods is great for the environment and reducing your carbon footprint. Often, seasonal produce has been treated with fewer pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides creating healthier fruit and veggies but also preventing unwanted chemicals and toxins from contaminating the soil. When out of season produce is grown in other countries, often pesticides and other toxic chemicals are used to help extend its shelf life to afford for the extra travel time it takes to get to the store.
If you need any more convincing to eat seasonal foods, it’s also great for your wallet! Seasonal foods are often sold for less than their off-season counterparts. This is due to the fact that you’re buying food at the peak of its supply which means that it costs less for farmers and distributors to harvest.
HOW TO GET STARTED EATING SEASONALLY
Starting to eat seasonally doesn’t have to feel like a burden. There are several ways to make an easy switch to seasonal.
- Do a little reading. Read about what foods are in season at what times. This way you know exactly what fruit and veggies to look for next time you’re at the market.
- Research recipes. Now that you know what produce is in-season and when, take a moment to search creative recipes utilizing your fresh produce. Cooking light has some great seasonal recipes. Check out their recipes here!
- Take advantage of farmer’s markets. Farmers' markets are a great way to check out all the in-season foods and eat locally grown food as well. Many farmer's markets extend from spring until early fall. Some are even offered year-round. Check out this link to find a farmers market near you!
- Choose the right restaurants. When eating out or ordering in, try to find restaurants that change their menus based on the season. This is a fantastic way to get inspired and try various dishes that you normally wouldn’t have during other times of the year.
BEST SEASONAL SUMMER FOODS
The list of seasonal foods varies as the season's change. However, with the summer here and the warmer weather, it also means that your local market has an abundance of your favorite fruit and vegetables in-season. The options available might change based on your location. Take a look here to find out what's in-season in your area.
To get you started, below is a general list of foods in season during the summer.
Vegetables - In-season summer vegetables include:
- Bok Choy
Fruits - In-season summer fruits include:
Herbs - In-summer herbs include:
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