Eating seasonally not only keeps your wallet full, it also makes eating interesting and fresh. Being separated from the earth, and living far away from farms can make you oblivious to when certain foods are in season, or when they are most abundant in the country. To solve this issue, you can simply go to your local farmer’s market, and ask the farmer, or you can keep a list handy like this post. Read on to discover which foods you should be eating now while they last.
A lot cooler than fall, winter is the time for exclusively warm foods with warm spices to compliment it. Staying warm is the most paramount item on your list during this time, so choose foods that help out! You might not think fresh foods are available this time of year, but you’d be surprised just how many nutritious ingredients are abundant during the cooler months.
In addition to healthy fats and vitamin E, a quarter-cup of nuts, specifically almonds, contains 62 mg of magnesium plus 162 mg of potassium. Winter is the best time to go nuts on nuts, whether you crack them yourself with your grandma’s favorite nut cracker, or if you buy them already shelled. Once you have your hands on some, make this fabulous nut cheese, these raw brownies, Vanilla Cashew Maple Butter, or this kick butt gluten free stuffing.
2. Brussels Sprouts
Brussels sprouts have a superb glucosinolate content which are important phytonutrients for health because they are the chemical starting points for a variety of cancer-protective substances. The alien heads are back to make your holidays and snow days even better than they already are, so stuff them in a soup, in a nice bake with a maple mustard glaze, or in your favorite gnocchi dish.
Dates are wicked awesome, and if you don’t already know just how awesome they are, check out this article. Who doesn’t love these maple tasting balls of sweet yumminess? Put them in anything from oat squares to marbella to yogi balls, they are always marvelous.
Glucosinolates, sulfur-containing compounds that may reduce the risk of some forms of cancer while providing antifungal, antibacterial and antiparasitic benefits, are an essential part of turnips. The Puritans love them, but they’re not a good judge of things, so try them yourself in this ravioli, fry form, or in a club with caramelized onions and toasted lentils.
The vitamin C in oranges is a primary water-soluble antioxidant in the body, disarming free radicals and preventing damage in the aqueous environment both inside and outside cells. The citrus that you find at the bottom of your stocking or growing on trees that smell beautiful are considered a delicacy in the winter, but they are in season in some states. Put them in a chocolate cheesecake, orange cauliflower, cupcakes, or in some French inspired crepes.
Essentially, eating seasonally helps to diversify your diet, giving you new things to eat. This diversity is the foundation of a healthy diet, supplying the body with different nutrients to help it along during the different parts of the year. Whichever season you’re in, try and center your diet accordingly.
This season is the time of greening in which leafy vegetables and fresh herbs are plentiful. The following pieces of produce should be on your plate in the spring:
1. Swiss Chard
Swiss chard, the springtime fairy of green leaves, is rich in vitamin K, A, and C that assists with bone, skin, and teeth rejuvenation. Try this quiche, sauté, or check out how to use it in on five unique ways to eat this amazing leafy green.
What kind of man is Popeye? Well, he’s a sailor man, but he’s also a spinach man, and for good reason: spinach is rich in vitamins, minerals, health-promoting phytonutrients such as carotenoids (beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin), and flavonoids which give you a hefty dose of antioxidants.Make some amazing stuffed mushrooms, spinach dip, or a creamy lasagna.
3. Romaine Lettuce
Lettuce is scrumdiliumptious, low in calories, high in fiber to keep you regular, and brimming with vitamin C and beta-carotene. Try this green smoothie while you check out why lettuce actually rocks, and then whip up this amazing vegan caesar salad.
Parsley is full of flavonoids—especially luteolin—which function as antioxidants to combine with highly reactive oxygen-containing molecules, helping to prevent oxygen-based damage to cells. Make this wicked squash parsley dip and this parsley enhanced smoothie. For a savory twist, cook up this pasta dish!
Basil is a rich source of magnesium which helps to protect the heart by relaxing the surrounding vessels. Noodle and bean salad is so much better with basil, and so is stuffed mushrooms. While you’re cooking up a storm with your best friend basil, try out this spaghetti squash and basil dish!
This season, hot and humid, makes you crave cooling foods that are ice cold on your tongue. Light fruits and vegetables are abundant in this season, and so you should indulge in all the berries, melons, and “salad” vegetables like zucchini, cucumbers, and celery.
Strawberries are ideal for the eyes, anti-aging, memory, bone and cardiovascular health. This article has a whopping 25 recipes that all feature the lovely heart berry, but you can also just have a simple chocolate covered strawberry or maybe a strawberry loaf! The possibilities are limitless.
2. Summer Squash
As an excellent source of manganese and a very good source of vitamin C, summer squash provides a great combination of antioxidants, but it’s carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin, are especially important for proper eye function. Never had summer squash, or just need a refresher on how to cook with it? We’ll show you how! Or, you can stuff some squash in your breakfast scramble or couscous.
Watermelon is a high-lycopene food which means that it helps with cardiovascular health and bone health. Summer watermelon is always the best, so why wouldn’t you have some with every meal (or at least until you get sick of it). Try it in a salad, smoothie, or a chilled soup.
Pears, rich in dietary fiber, help protect against the development of type 2 diabetes (or DM2, which stands for “diabetes mellitus type 2”) as well heart disease. Pears are sweet, soft, rich in fiber, and delicious whether you have them in a cocktail, a pie, or a beet smoothie.
Broccoli has incredible anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits, and it’s also a potent source of vitamin C. A vegetable that looks like a little tree has to be delicious, right? Well, if you cook it up in a delicious way, say in this stir fry, salad, or raw soup, then yes, absolutely.
Rolling in with orange leaves, pumpkin flavors, and smells of cinnamon, fall is the most diverse of seasons, with different types of roots in season, and spices, all constituting as cooling and warming foods.
Here’s what to eat as the air turns back cool:
Carrots are super rich in carotenoids to prevent oxidative damage inside the body. Rabbit from Winnie the Pooh can’t live without his carrots, and you shouldn’t have to either. Make some muffins to kick off the turning of the leaves, or a gluten free cake. Alternatively, you can indulge your savory taste buds with some raw carrot sushi.
2. Sweet Potato
With a sizable amount of vitamin A, these starchy tubers make everything healthier and tastier, so why not have some sweet potato and kale patties for dinner and some s’mores sweet potato brownies for dessert? If you’re just looking for a light meal, have a sweet potato pie smoothie!
Onions provide protection for the heart and blood vessels when consumed in a diet that is rich in other vegetables and fruits—especially flavonoid-containing vegetables and fruits. They’re so good they make you cry: onions make everything extra luscious and savory, so throw ‘em in a stew, soup, or even a kugel.
Since Halloween is smack dab at the end of fall, you can most definitely use it’s potent powers to ward off vampires and amp up the flavors of any dish (well except breakfast porridge). Try this fry up, sweet potato dish, or this tagliatelle pasta pronto before the vampires attack!
This amazing root is rich in sulfur-containing compounds that are responsible for their pungent odors and for many of their health-promoting effects. Your favorite spicy root doesn’t just enhance your chai tea, it also produces amazing food products: check out these 10 amazing recipes, or put some pancakes on the grill and top them with this cranberry, pear, ginger sauce.
Eating seasonally isn’t only beneficial for your wallet and the planet, but it benefits your health (and your taste buds) all the way around. Plants taste so much better when eaten in the season they’re grown in. Strive to eat more seasonal foods as the new year approaches and see how your body responds!
What are your favorite seasonal foods?
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