We all know that fresh vegetables and fruits are beneficial to health, but did you know that eating seasonally has extra benefits for your family’s health? As part of the healthy, simple Summer meals challenge, I’m going to go through some of the reasons why eating seasonally benefits your health and your time!
1. WHAT YOUR BODY NEEDS
Eating seasonally makes sense because nature provides foods that suit our body’s needs for the season and weather. For example, there are a wider variety of fruits available in the warmer months that contain sugar when we are more likely to be moving and using the carbohydrates. Watermelon and cucumber have high water contents to help balance the loss of water when it is hot. Anti-oxidants abundant in the colourful vegetables and fruit of the warmer months (especially lycopene in tomatoes) help protect our skin from burning and sun damage. How amazing is that?!
2. Higher nutrient levels
For strength, vitality and optimal health, our body needs a boost of essential vitamins and minerals. Eating fresh (or frozen) vegetables and fruit gives us these. But did you know that there are usually higher amounts of nutrients in vegetables and fruit that are in season? Eating seasonally means vegetables and fruit have most likely travelled less kilometres to get to you. That means they will be fresher and have lost less nutrients on the journey. Did you know that nutrient levels of some light, oxygen and heat sensitive vitamins reduce the longer the produce has been off the plant?
3. FULL OF FLAVOUR, LOWER $$
When vegetables and fruit are grown naturally during their peak season, they are also going to be at peak flavour and lowest cost. This is because the plant is not being forced to produce in sub-optimal conditions or using a multitude of chemicals. (That’s why I don’t buy hydroponic tomatoes!)
4. SIMPLE MEALS
Because vegetables and fruit in season taste better, you have to do less with them for a tasty meal! Think about a simple tomato salad. Slice tomatoes, lay them on a plate. Drizzle with some extra virgin olive oil, and fresh basil, salt and pepper. That’s it! What a beautiful accompaniment to grilled fresh fish, meat or vegetarian protein along with some other vegetables like grilled zucchini.
Vegan Kale Pesto is a beautiful way to take advantage of the abundance of seasonal herbs like basil. You can add it to almost anything savoury for extra flavour and a good fat boost too. Dollop on salads, grilled meat, eggs, mix with tuna for a sandwich filling. Yum! See my recipe for it here. Keeping pickled or fermented vegetables in the fridge makes it easy to whip up a simple Summer meal, or add more vegetables to any meal. Try out my Kid Approved Pickled Beetroot for a gut and liver-loving addition to your meals.
More delicious food, at just the right time for our bodies, with a lower price tag and quick to prepare. Win-win-win-win.
These days it can be really hard to know what is in season and when because most vegetables and fruits are available year round! To help you get to know what is in season, check out the seasonal vegetable and fruit guide at Sustainable Table. Keep an eye on my social media pages too as I post regular reminders of what is in season for Australia or Melbourne, Victoria. Make a list of your family’s favourites and put them on your fridge or in your list-making app like Wunderlist. If you can see your list while shopping it makes it simple to incorporate these foods into your meals each day.
Struggling with implementing healthy eating in your home? Do you need a personalised meal plan or eating guidelines for your family? Did you know that I offer a family wellness package to help you work out what your family needs to tweak for optimal health and vitality? Find out more here.