In addition to doing what I need to do to stay healthy and care for myself on a daily basis, there are three other significant factors that are constantly competing for my attention and care.
Will my kids eat it?
How will this affect my overall grocery budget?
Will I like it?
If the answer is “no” to any one of those questions, things get a side eye before I add them to my cart.
Fortunately there is one thing that can really help with all four of my top food concerns. Eating food that’s actually in season.
If you’ve ever tried buying summer fruits in the middle of winter, then you know how expensive and tasteless they can be. Eating produce in season is so much better for your health, wallet, and the planet. It can be confusing when you first start, so I’ve laid out some tips on eating with the seasons and why it is so beneficial.
An easy way to know what’s in season is to buy your groceries at a local farmer’s market or at the grocery store, focus on the seasonal produce that’s prominently displayed. Usually the food that’s in season is the most abundant, so it’s likely to be in central bins and promoted in the sales sheet. You can also look for local community supported agriculture farms to buy local seasonal produce direct from nearby farmers, if they are available in your area.
One of my favorite weekend activities when I have time is to go to a local farmer’s market. Not only are you supporting your local farmers this way, but you are also getting the freshest produce possible. Your fruits and veggies aren’t going through days of transportation and sitting in storage like they would at the big grocery stores.
Buying local is also beneficial for the environment. Your produce doesn’t need to be transported, so you are reducing your carbon footprint. If you have a yard, you can even plant a few of your own fruits and veggies.
The fruits and veggies in season will depend on where you live, but here’s a quick reference source. In the summer, you have many more options for fresh produce. Berries, cucumbers, peaches, watermelon, and tomatoes all grow in the summer months.Typically, apples, root vegetables, and starchy vegetables such as butternut squash, potatoes, and pumpkin, are in season in the fall and winter.
Eating with the seasons can feel overwhelming when you first start, and you might feel limited with your food options. Research some new recipes that you can try out with your seasonal produce. Soon you’ll find that you’re actually getting more creative with your meals and trying produce that you may have never tried before.
The winter months can be more difficult, but remember that not all your food has to be consumed fresh. Most summer fruits, such as berries and peaches, freeze very well. You can also pickle and ferment many vegetables, which can be a whole other fun way to experiment with food.
When you take this approach into account when planning for your weekly food, over time you’ll notice that your grocery bill goes down, all the produce you need to eat will taste better AND you’re less likely to be bored with the same routine, day in and day out.
Right now, my family is LOVING all the fresh berries and melons that taste extra sweet right now, and I’m taking time to grill and spiral summer squash to fill up my plate.
The next time you go on a grocery run, pick up some in season items and enjoy the bursts of flavor!