Are you looking for an easy way to make sure you’re getting plenty of nutrition and variety in your diet?
Following a seasonal approach might be for you and it has the added bonus of getting the best out of your fruit and vegetables.
What is seasonal eating?
Put simply, eating seasonally means focusing on foods that grow naturally in the season that you’re in right now.
Seasonal eating used to be all that we had available to us. But as technology has advanced, we are able to import food from other countries. We can even force food to grow outside of its growing season.
What are the benefits?
It contains nutrients specific to the season
Have you ever noticed that tropical fruits and salads have a lot of water content? This high water content helps to keep you hydrated during the hotter weather. On the other hand, citrus fruits contain vitamins and antioxidants that support immunity during the winter.
Seasonal food is tastier
Ever tried a tomato in winter? It’s watery and pale. Whereas summer tomatoes are bright red and juicy.
When food is grown in its natural season, it is more likely to get the conditions it likes best. The amount of water, the temperature and the sun exposure that a plant likes can vary – just like us humans! But when it gets the right conditions, it will contain plenty of nutrients – AND more flavour.
You’re supporting local growers and economies
Seasonal food generally comes from a local area, or at least within the same country. By choosing to buy cherries in summer instead of winter (when they are imported from the US), you are supporting the local economy.
How to get more seasonal food into the diet
Are you sold on the perks of a more seasonal approach to food? Let’s look at a few ways to get more seasonal options into your daily diet.
Shop at farmers markets
The popularity of local food means that farmers markets are available in most areas. Because farmers are bringing fresh produce in, they will be offering seasonal options. The best part is, it often makes it more affordable, even if the produce is organic or biodynamic.
Farmers markets are not necessarily regulated, so make sure you ask the stallholders where they are based. Some markets are strict and only allow stallholders from within the region, whereas others allow any interested parties to display their products. There are many farmers markets in New Zealand, and locally we have the Matakana Village Farmers Market every Sunday which has an amazing range of local and artisan
Look for the more affordable produce options
If you don’t have a local farmers market, or just don’t have time, you don’t have to miss out. Even the supermarket will stock seasonal options. The key here is to look for the cheaper produce that is usually at the front of the section. For example, a $2 mango is more likely to be in season than a $6 mango.
Read your labels
Seasonal food is often local food, particularly when it comes to fruit that spoils easily. Have a look at the label on your fruit punnets and see where it is grown. If it’s listed as grown locally, or in NZ!, go for it! Just remember to slice up your strawberries. You would be amazed at how many fruit and vegetables are imported! (And wouldn’t you rather know that you are supporting New Zealanders, or locals.
Grow your own!
It might not be feasible for you to grow all of your own food. But you can start off small with a handful of your favourite herbs and greens. As we head into the warmer months, leafy vegetables are an easy option to grow on a balcony or a sunny windowsill. Drop into your local nursery to get some advice if you’re unsure.
A seasonal diet approach is a great start towards a healthier relationship with food. For more personalised support, (for example if you want to find out about the fruits and vegetables suitable for a low carb/ high protein) book a session with me.