Many chefs and nutrition experts say we should eat seasonally. What they mean is that you should try and eat more of the food that is in season locally. That might mean more apples in the autumn, artichokes in the spring, and squash in the autumn. Obviously, what is seasonal for you depends on where you live as well as the time of year.
This is how mankind used to eat before the advent of food preservation, greenhouses, forced growing, and the ability to transport food from one side of the world to the other in a matter of days or even hours.
Eating seasonally is more than just a trendy food movement; it’s also good for your health, your wallet, and even the environment!
1. Eating seasonally is easier on your wallet
Locally produced, in-season, foods are inevitably cheaper than their out-of-season, imported counterparts. Saving money is good news as it frees up cash you can then spend on even more, healthy food!
Some diets might promote the consumption of exotic if healthy foods but if you can’t afford to eat them regularly and in sufficient quantities, any potential benefits are soon lost.
Head to your local farmers’ market to see what is available seasonally and you’ll also be amazed at how cheaply you can eat healthily.
2. More food variety
When you have access to a wide range of foods all year round, it’s very easy to fall into the trap of eating the same foods over and over. However, if you eat seasonally, as one food ceases to be available, another will take its place.
Eating a variety of foods is important for your health and means you’ll get to eat a broader spectrum of nutrients. Having an ever-changing supply of seasonal foods also prevents you from getting bored of eating the same meals over and over.
3. More nutritionally-dense food
Seasonal food is inevitably produced locally which means it’s always going to be fresher than something imported from thousands of miles away. As soon as a food is picked and gathered in, its nutritional density begins to decline. In short, it starts to lose vitamins at an alarming rate.
For example, locally grown, seasonal apples will contain many more vitamins than an apple grown in Fiji – unless you are living in Fiji of course!
Food that has travelled many miles and for many days may well be sold as fresh but could be as much as a week old. In contrast, locally produced fresh food could have been on the farm only yesterday. Food that has to be transported long distances may also be irradiated which means it was zapped with radiation to kill any germs and may even be covered in waxes to prevent them from going off.
4. Better for the environment
Leading on from the previous point, locally produced food requires fewer fossil fuels to make it from farm to supermarket than food imported from the other side of the world. Fewer carbon emissions, and more money pumped directly into your local economy mean that buying seasonal, locally produced food is the right thing to do if you care about the environment – both globally and locally.
5. Better taste
Although this is a subjective view, food that is grown locally and seasonally tends to taste so much better than mass-produced food flown in from all around the world. When it comes to eating healthily and sticking to a sensible eating plan, taste is important. If you find fruit and vegetables often taste bland, try buying locally produced, seasonal fruit and vegetables and see if you can taste the difference.
Don’t think you HAVE to go 100% local and seasonal – this probably isn’t practical. However, eating more locally produced, seasonal food will do you, your bank account, and the environment good!