We are very fortunate to live in a time when our resources and technology allow us to acquire almost anything we want to eat at any time. Most especially in the city, there are numerous options available to us whether we plan to dine out or eat in. Adjusting our diets to “available” foods used to be quite common but now that almost any food is available you might want to consider eating foods that are seasonal for a variety of reasons.
What Does It Mean To Eat Seasonally?
To eat seasonally means to consume foods that are normally grown and/or available during the time of year and to the area where you are located. There are many benefits to eating seasonally such as:
- Saving Money – If there is an abundance of something, it will be cheaper. Do you ever notice how much cheaper apples are in the fall, and zucchini is in the summer? The more there is of an item, the cheaper it will be! If you eat seasonally you can use this to your benefit to keep your grocery bills down.
- Delicious and Nutritious – Food tastes better when it is grown and picked at its peak of freshness. If you are eating food that is seasonal, it doesn’t have to travel far to get to you and can be picked when it is ready. However, if you decide that you want strawberries in January, the flavor will not be as good. The fruit had to be picked before it was fully ripened so that it doesn’t turn while in transit. The best flavor will always come from produce that was picked at its peak.
- Support Your Local Economy – When you buy seasonally available food, local farmers can provide the goods rather than having them all shipped to your area. Not only will the food taste fresher and more delicious but more money will stay in your community. You will be able to have a direct effect on your community and possibly the prices, which you could help keep low!
- Helping The Earth – In addition to helping your own community by buying local food, you will be contributing to cutting down on pollution. Transporting food alone requires a lot of fuel which causes a multitude of problems. Then, of course, there are the pesticides and chemicals that are used on produce that is grown on large farms or environments where the food is not naturally grown in. These chemicals cause pollution and can be hazardous to your health.
What’s In Season Now?
Winter is a trickier time to eat seasonally for those of us in the Philadelphia area. Yet, while you don’t have to eat strictly only seasonal items you can keep up with what will be readily available, cheaper, and most fresh right now. During the month of January turnips, potatoes, mushrooms, lettuce, and celery are all “in season.” Thankfully, these are very versatile foods that can be used in many ways.
Tips To Add To Your Diet
It would be silly to think that in this day and age, with so many foods available to us, that you would stick strictly to only seasonal foods in your area. Yet, there are many ways to add season foods to your diet and improve your health. You may want to try:
- Shopping at a farmer’s market or joining a farm share
- Starting your own garden
- Learning how to preserve foods. Ie. canning or dehydrating
- Learning some new cooking techniques to use on new seasonal foods
- Visit a farm where you can pick your own food
Did You Know?
Another reason why eating seasonally can be so beneficial is that most foods that are in season are designed to provide something that helps our bodies more during that specific time of year. Think about all of the summer foods that you enjoy. Watermelon, cucumbers, and berries may come to your mind. All of those foods aid your body in staying cool and hydrated during the summer months. In Autumn, squashes and root vegetables are in season. These foods provide nutrients that help boost your immune system, which will probably be needed as cold and flu season begins.