There are so many diets and eating plans available to us (Paleo, gluten-free, Mediterranean and the list goes on and on). It can be difficult to decide which one would be best for you. So how do you choose what is right for you? Well that is a great question. What we need to remember is that each one of us is an individual with our own activity level, stress level, metabolism, hormonal activity, environment, health challenges, likes and dislikes. This is why we each need to listen to our own bodies, be knowledgeable about the food we eat and then choose quality, nutritious foods. In a previous post I shared about whether organic was worth the money, take a look if you missed it. Over the past few years, I have begun incorporating eating with the seasons in to our food plan. It is ONE of many ways that you can choose the food you will eat.
Eating with the seasons is not some new fad; this is how people used to eat before global distribution was available. There are benefits to the global distribution in that we can try so many different fruits and vegetables, and many are available year round; this is especially beneficial living a northern climate. It is the produce that is grown locally that is best for seasonal eating.
Seasonal Eating refers to the time of the year when the harvest or the flavor of a given type of food is at its peak. This is usually the time when the food is the least expensive and the most fresh on the market. Eating seasonally carries benefits to both your health and your wallet! When purchasing food at its peak, the nutrients in the fruit or vegetable are at their best. You save money because you are buying food that is at the peak of its supply, and it costs less for farmers and distribution companies to harvest and bring to market.
Another benefit of seasonal eating is that buying locally supports your local farms and businesses, this is especially true when you shop at a Farmer’s Market. Minnesota has a booklet that lists all the farmer’s markets and also many local farms in the state. The information is also available online at Minnesota Grown. If you like to stick with your local grocer, many will have fresh, local produce when the items are at their peak. You will know because there will be an abundance of that food available! Some grocers will advertise locally grown produce.
Eating with the seasons is a guideline for what is available and does not have to be strictly followed, but instead we can take advantage of and enjoy what is in season. Here is a great website where you can determine what is in season for your state and the month, Sustainable Food Guide. The website has recipes and information about each item, as well. If you want to learn more about seasonal eating, I recently found this book called Clean Food. I found it to be a user friendly seasonal eating guide that has more than 200 recipes broken down by the seasons. I found a couple of recipes that I am going to try: Strawberry, Rhubarb Compote with Cashew Cream and Sprouted Quinoa Tabbouleh. Both of these recipes sound awesome; I am excited to share with you how they turn out.
The week of August 7-13, 2016 is National Farmer’s Market Week so it would be a great time to check out your local farmer’s market. When I visit the various markets, I enjoy visiting with the vendors: finding out where they are from and more about them, their farm practices, and whatever else they want to share. It is so much fun to learn about others, and you can really see the passion they have in what they do. This week I met one lady from North Branch, MN; I was asking a few questions about her produce and she ended up blessing me with extra items for me to “try”. Another vendor invited me to come visit their farm and the operation that they have. I love connecting with people.
What is your favorite item at your local farmer’s market?
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Walters, Terry. Clean Food. New York: Sterling Publishing Co., Inc., 2009.