We all know eating our greens is the staple of a healthy diet, but veggies can be so… uninspiring. (If you are one of those unicorn people who “love” vegetables please tell me all your secrets, immediately or get out, thank you.)
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If you’re offering me a plate of crispy, salty french fries or a big ‘ol bucket of spinach, there’s really no contest. Which — as you can probably guess — is why I never manage to get in my daily allotment of fruit and veg. Honest moment here, I have gone days without eating anything green save for the wilted piece of iceberg slapped in the middle of my juicy cheeseburger. I know, I know. Not ideal.
Better (and better tasting) for you
Enter seasonal eating. It appeals to me on a soul-deep level, because it’s branded as a way to “get excited” about all the green stuff. Eating fruits and veggies when they’re in-season means they’re fresher (i.e., haven’t been shipped across country and left to wilt in a supermarket bin for days), which in turns means more flavor. A friend of mine once traveled to Italy and had “the best tomatoes of her life” and then claimed she couldn’t eat tomatoes from the grocery ever again because they “just weren’t the same.” Pretentious? Yes, but I’m seeing her side now that I’m on the whole “eat seasonal” bandwagon. When you eat a tomato fresh from the farm, you’re eating it how it was meant to be and thus getting the most tomato-y flavor from it. Which means you’re probably going to eat more tomatoes. Win, win.
Easier on the wallet
Eating foods that are in-season is actually cheaper for you — one of those a-ha moments that you might overlook when throwing eight frozen pizzas in your cart (been there, girl). Buying food at the peak of its supply is cheaper for farmers and for distribution, making it cost less for you. Hooray for savings!
Support your local community
Bonus: seasonal eating supports local farmers, which helps your local community grow and flourish. It’s nice to know that whipping up some kale chips will make your body and the growers down the road happy. That kale tastes a little bit better now, doesn’t it? No? What do you want from me, it’s kale.
So, how do you know what’s in-season?
Depending on where you live on the planet, different good stuff will be in season at different times. Here’s a quick and easy breakdown of many in-season fruits and veg for North America:
Think vivid tasting fruit that bursts on your tongue.
Arugula, asparagus, bell pepper, cauliflower, corn, cucumber, eggplant, garlic, radishes, spinach, zucchini
Apricots, blackberries, blueberries, cherries, figs, lemons, limes, melon, mulberries, nectarines, passion fruit, peaches, pineapple, plums, strawberries
Tomatoes (I’m not entering the fraught is-a-tomato-a-fruit-or-a-vegetable debate. I mean, can you blame me.)
Think rich fall-colored (burnt orange, deep burgundy, forest green) meals with back-to-basics flavors.
Artichoke, beets, bell pepper, broccolini, brussels sprouts, butternut squash, cauliflower, celery root, chard, corn, eggplant, fennel, garlic, mushrooms, parsnip, potatoes, pumpkin, radishes, rutabaga, spinach, sweet potatoes
Almonds, apples (apple picking!), chestnuts, cranberries, pears, persimmon, plums, pomegranate, raspberries, tamarillo, tangerines
Tomatoes (see above)
Think deeply colored root vegetables, perfect for hearty cold-weather soups.
Beets, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, celery, kale, leeks, onions, parsnips, potatoes, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, radishes, rutabaga, turnips
Citrus, kiwi, pomegranate
Think fresh, brightly colored salads full of crunchy greens.
Artichoke, asparagus, avocado (hoorah!), broccoli, fava beans, fennel, kale, peas, leeks, radishes, rhubarb, turnips
Blood oranges, grapefruit, kiwi, pineapple