Would you like to get the most bang for your buck when it comes to eating healthy? Try eating with the seasons! It is easy, fun, fresh, and nutritious.
Eating with the seasons provides you with maximum vitamins and nutrients, not to mention taste, while costing you the least amount of money. As produce ages, it degrades, causing a loss of nutrients, quality, and flavor. Seasonal produce is fresh, nutrient packed, and can be found locally at your farmer’s market or grocery store. Because it is in season, it is the most available and abundant at the time, which causes the cost to be lower. Good old supply and demand. So eating local and seasonal will ensure the best product for the best price.
The crispness of the fall and winter seasons also bring a hearty variety of produce. In the southeast, where I am from, we see the following bounty in the Fall and Winter seasons:
September and October bring apples, cabbage, cauliflower, cherry tomatoes, collards, cucumbers, greens, Indian corn, muscadine grapes, mushrooms, mustard greens, pears, persimmons, pumpkins, raspberries, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, beets, bok choy, kale, lettuce, radishes, romaine, snow peas, spinach, and turnips.
November and December bring cauliflower, cucumbers, Indian corn, lettuce, mushrooms, radishes, romaine, snow peas, apples, beets, bok choy, cabbage, collards, greens, kale, mustard greens, pecans, spinach, sweet potatoes, turnips, and carrots.
Make a fun visit to the local farmer’s market to see what is fresh in your area. There are lots of fun things to see, smell, and taste for the whole family. The vendors usually offer samples and you cannot beat the prices! Plus it is a great way to get to know your local suppliers. You can ask questions about how their products are grown and cared for, including pesticides and harvest times. You may even want to join in a farmer’s crop share, which will provide you with seasonal goodies all year long. Your seasonal share is usually delivered to your door, weekly or biweekly, during the time period you sign up for. Many farmers include fresh fruits and vegetables in their crop share, and sometimes other goodies like fresh eggs, fresh baked goods, and freshly processed jams and jellies. These items are usually minimally processed and made from the freshest ingredients. Don’t be afraid to talk with the farmers. They love to get to know their customers and build relationships for the future.
If you don’t have a farmer’s market available near you, don’t worry, you can eat seasonally too. Your grocery store should have fresh seasonal produce as well. Do a little research and find out what is in season locally and which grocery store near you partners with local farmers for the best local impact.
The fall and winter seasons are the perfect time of year to experiment with soups and stews. The warmth of a hearty soup or stew warms you down to your soul and helps you cozy in for the cold nights. Try combining a variety of vegetables with chicken or beef stock and cook until tender for a yummy vegetable soup. Experiment with different combinations of stocks, meats, veggies, grains, and herbs. Homemade soups can be creamy, brothy, earthy, or hearty. Add a little sour cream or plain Greek yogurt after serving to create a creamy soup.
Canned soups contain a ton of sodium, so making your own at home allows you to be in control of the ingredients. This is a great technique for anyone who has high blood pressure or is watching their sodium intake. It is easy and simple to make your own healthy soups. If including an ingredient or two from each category below, these soups are hearty enough to be an entire meal.
Put together a simple healthy soup by choosing ingredients from each category.