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A Feast for All Seasons: Save Money & Eat Better with Seasonal Ingredients

 February 21, 2017
Scott in Food
I’m sure you’ve heard it before, but we’re here today to remind you yet again. You ought to be eating with the seasons and adapting your diet to match what’s available locally. With modern transportation networks, we can enjoy any kind of fresh fruit and vegetables year-round. However, that doesn’t mean you should! The high cost imposed on the consumer as well as the environment are not a good idea. Shop smart and be more budget-conscious, while you eat better and help save the earth with seasonal meal planning.

There are real, tangible benefits to eating what’s in season in your climate and local growing zone. The obvious one is saving money. When you buy things “in season”, you are hitting the peak supply in the market with the best deals on the freshest food. Farmers need to sell their wares quickly before they spoil or they have to resort to freezing and preserving their produce. One of the other benefits is your health. Being more deliberate about what you eat and putting in a little extra planning are proven ways to take control of your diet. Whether you want to lose weight or build muscle, there’s a whole world of fresh local ingredients waiting for you.

Colorful carrots and potatoes

Another benefit to eating seasonally is you end up eating better. Local producers and farmers’ markets are great places to go for the freshest, tastiest, and most ethically-sourced food in your community. When you eat local food in season, you support your regional farmers and their families. These hard-working folks deserve more of your business, and you’ll end up with fresher, better food.

Another big reason to eat seasonally is the variety. If you force yourself to think outside the box and work with what’s available, you’re way more likely to discover new ingredients and try new recipes. This makes your diet healthier since you’ll end up eating a wider range of food. It’s easy to hit all your daily vitamin and mineral requirements when you have an interesting and varied diet. Who wants to eat the same thing over and over and over? Plus, you’ll be much more interesting to talk to at a dinner party if you know more about food! Learn more about your local producers and impress your dinner guests with some hidden gems.

Colorful pumpkins

If you aren’t sure what “seasonal” means, it’s not hard to figure out what is good to eat at any time of year. One of the most underused resources is your local grocer. If you need help picking out some seasonal vegetables or you aren’t sure how to prepare a new ingredient, just ask one of those teenagers at the supermarket. Those pimply stock boys can often tell you a lot about the food they sell; don’t judge them by their age!

A few words of caution: don’t overdo it. When you get a good price on a bundle of fresh local produce, it’s tempting to buy the whole farmer’s stand. This can actually be counterproductive. Your fridge will be so full that you’re guaranteed to miss something at the back. It doesn’t matter how good the price was if you let it spoil your fridge. This will make it harder for you to buy fresh produce next time since you’ll remember the waste from last time. Keep it low key and only buy what you can reasonably expect to eat before it spoils.