Why You Should Start To Eat Seasonally18.12.20
If you’re looking to start eating healthier, you may as well do it in a way that’s better for the planet too, and this means eating seasonally.
You might have heard this term before, but what does it really mean? When you eat seasonally you’re making a conscious effort to consume foods that are ready to harvest at that time of year. As a result, you end up avoiding imported foods that have been grown overseas and support local businesses instead.
Whether you start seeking out seasonal produce in the supermarket, switch to shopping at your local greengrocers, or want to make seasonal meal planning as easy as possible with seasonal meal prep boxes, every little helps when it comes to moving towards a greener diet.
Want to know more? Here’s why you should start eating seasonally.
How do you eat seasonally?
Most people know that they should be eating seasonally, so why don’t they? Well, with supermarkets offering an extensive selection of imported fruit and vegetables all year round, it’s never obvious what is in season from a quick stroll down the fresh produce aisle.
Although it doesn’t always seem like it in our consumer-centric world, different crops are produced at different times of the year. If you want to find out what’s in season, you’ll need to do some research into the food produced in your area and brush up on your knowledge of seasonal UK-grown produce.
This being said, keep an eye on supermarket prices. A dip in price usually indicates that a food is in season, whereas prices are higher for out-of-season produce.
Eating seasonally will inevitably restrict your ingredient options, which might lead you to wonder “How can I still make delicious meals while cooking seasonally?”.
Once you know which fruits and vegetables are in season, you can start to plan the meals you can make with the available produce. A flick through some cookbooks or online recipe blogs will reveal lots of inspiring ways to make your seasonal produce the star of the dish – whether you’re working with pumpkin, parsnips, fennel, or french beans!
It helps to make life easy for yourself, so think about arranging a seasonal essentials box to be delivered to your door. Without the need to go hunting round the supermarket you can spend more time getting creative in the kitchen.
How does eating seasonally help the environment?
Lots of fruits and vegetables have travelled many miles after being specially grown overseas to meet the UK’s demand for out-of-season produce. Eating seasonally means that you’ll be eating locally, as what’s in season will depend on where you live in the world. This might seem obvious, but eating food that has been grown closer to you cuts out the environmental damage inflicted by shipping (and storing) foods over long distances. As an environmentally friendly way to shop and eat, sticking to seasonal produce does a fantastic job of reducing your carbon footprint.
What’s more, locally grown food usually uses much less fertiliser and pesticides than imports. This means less soil, water, and air pollution for a more sustainable food economy – great stuff!
Is eating seasonally healthier?
Not only is seasonal food better for the environment, it also tastes better, usually costs less, and is much better for your health. By incorporating a variety of foods into your diet, you’ll be benefiting from a wider range of nutrients and minerals. What’s more, seasonal food supports your body’s season-specific needs. While winter citrus fruits are high in vitamin C, helping to protect you from colds and viruses, lycopene-containing seasonal summer foods such as tomatoes will better protect your skin against sunburn.
Being locked in a cargo container for days on end does nothing for the nutritional quality of your food. The same goes for fruit and vegetables that have been tinned, dehydrated, or blanched to enhance their lifespan. Eat seasonal and you’ll be eating fresh – with the nutritional content to match.
What are the disadvantages to eating seasonally
Most people get into a routine of reaching for the same fruits and vegetables when they’re doing their weekly shop. With the same items available day after day, all year round, it’s easy to see why you’d fall into this habit.
When you start eating seasonally, you might be disappointed to find that your favourite foods aren’t in season for most of the year or that they’re imported from another country. Unsurprisingly, if you’re not used to eating the seasonal items available to you (or don’t like them), then this might feel limiting.
How do you get round this? By remembering that while leaving your comfort zone can be daunting, it does make the pay-offs all the more rewarding. Once you find recipes that you like, eating seasonally will take less effort. Broadening your culinary horizons will introduce you to new flavours and ways of cooking that, over time, will make it easier for you to adapt to having different seasonal items to work with.
If you’re really missing your old go-to meals, try substituting a few of the ingredients for similar seasonal equivalents. Don’t forget it doesn’t have to be completely cut and dry! Try eating seasonally most of the time – that’s much better than not at all. Or if you’re finding cooking from scratch too time-consuming, you can always schedule affordable, high quality, and seasonal meal prep box deliveries.
Eating seasonally helps you connect with where your food comes from and gain a greater understanding of the work that goes into producing it. What are you waiting for? Give it a go.
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