It’s time to say “so long” to the summer sunshine and (unfortunately) summer produce. The cooler temperatures and fresh autumn breeze tell me my favorite season is here, fall! Fall is a time of rich colors as the leaves change, snuggly sweaters and crisp nights. Fall is also a time for fall flavors. And no I am not talking about everyone’s favorite – pumpkin spiced lattes – but foods that reflect the autumn harvest season.
The marvels of modern food processing and worldwide distribution have made most foods available all year-round. You can find vine-ripe tomatoes at your grocery store in the dead of winter. Many of us do not live according to the seasons, but our bodies still do. Eating with the seasons is good for optimum health and wellness.
The tomatoes (and other produce) you purchase in the winter months depend on waxes, chemicals and preservatives that make them look tastier than they really are. These foods are produced for a long shelf life rather than flavor.
Here are some benefits to purchasing seasonal produce:
Higher nutritional value. Seasonal foods are picked at the peak of freshness, ultimately providing more vitamins, minerals and antioxidants than foods that are out of season.
Better quality (and taste). Most seasonal foods can be purchased from a local farmers market. Local farmers usually grow their fresh produce without the use of toxic chemicals, poisonous pesticides and herbicides. By purchasing local foods you are not only giving your body a higher quality of nourishment, but supporting your community’s local farmers as well.
Save money. Produce that is in season is priced at a more reasonable rate compared to foods that are out of season. Don’t just do your body a favor, but do your wallet a favor and save some money on that next grocery bill!
Next steps: Go to your local farmer’s market this weekend and pick up some fresh food that is in season. Don’t know what food is in season for fall? Here is a list to help on your next trip! Consider incorporating warming spices and seasonings such as cinnamon, ginger, peppercorns and mustard seeds when cooking and baking.
- Asian Pears
- Beet Greens
- Bok Choy
- Brussel Sprouts
- Collard Greens
- Green Beans
- Mustard Greens
- Onions (Red and Yellow)
- Peas (Snap and Snow)
- Sweet Potatoes
- Turnip Greens
With assistance from future RDN, Ashley Martens
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