Temperatures have begun to cool down, the trees are shedding their leaves and we all know what that means – Autumn is upon us! As the weather becomes milder, it is not uncommon for our eating habits and meal choices to change. Likewise, as the seasons change, different produce begins circulating through our supermarkets, local grocers, and farmer’s markets. So, from a nutrition perspective, is there any truth to the proclaimed benefits of eating seasonally?
You better be-leaf it! If you’re a young person on a budget, an environmentally conscious cook or a parent simply looking to optimise your family’s nutrition – there is no better way to kick start than to familiarise yourself with the concept of seasonal eating.
The Benefits of Eating Seasonally
Eating fresh, seasonal produce has a variety of perks that range in impact from you as an individual to the environment and greater community. These benefits include:
- Saving money. Seasonal produce is often cheaper because it is at its peak of supply and in abundance.
- Optimising nutrient content as the product is more likely to be fresh and have spent less time in transport and storage.
- Supporting local growers by creating demand for freshly harvested, seasonal produce – especially when purchased directly from farmers, at local grocers or at farmers markets.
- Environmental sustainability. Purchasing seasonal, locally grown food is not only going to save you money but also help our planet! Research shows that locally grown produce reduces transport and storage needs which contribute to greenhouse gases (Sanitarium, 2020).
Tips For Eating Seasonally
- Purchase directly from the farmer or local farmer’s markets where possible.
- Look for the ‘grown in Australia’ stickers on produce or packaging in major supermarkets.
- Get to know what is seasonal in your area and where to find local farmer’s markets using the Seasonal Food Guide at this link.
- Source seasonal recipes
- Shop the sales! Seasonal produce is likely to be cheaper and on sale more often as it is in abundance.
- Follow some of our tips for including Autumn produce into your meals and snacks!
Autumn in Australia – What to Eat and How to Incorporate It?
Okay so, now that you know WHY you should be eating seasonally, the next question we need to answer is WHAT and HOW.
Right now, fruits such as apples, figs, grapes, kiwifruit, lemons, and pears are in season. Likewise, bananas and stone fruit are still in season from Summer. (Seasonal Food Guide Australia, 2016).
Incorporating these foods into your family’s diet is as easy as this:
- Enjoy on-the-go as a snack for yourself and/or include in the kid’s lunch boxes.
- Dress your morning porridge or cereal with fresh or stewed pears, apples or figs.
- Try out sliced apple or pear into your salads.
- Zest up your beverages with lemon slices! You can also squeeze and freeze juice into ice cubes for later, use as a dressing or add to flavour food.
- Make smoothies! Freeze your fruit in excess and blend from frozen.
- Create a homemade banana bread using over-ripe bananas! The whole family will love it!
Vegetables such as tomatoes, zucchini, spring onion, corn, eggplant, snow peas, pumpkin, cucumber and potatoes are in season (Seasonal Food Guide Australia, 2016). Why not try:
- Making your own fritters using zucchini, potato, onion, corn and/or pumpkin.
- Adding grilled eggplant to parmigiana or using in place of pasta sheets in lasagne.
- Creating a roast veggie salad with extra virgin olive oil to taste.
- Bulking up sandwiches and wraps with sliced tomato and cucumber.
- Pairing snow peas or sliced cucumber with dip for a nutritional snack!
- Adding roasted pumpkin to a cold chicken (or other protein) salad.
- Creating zucchini mini quiches or muffins for the kid’s lunch boxes.
As you can see, eating seasonally will not only benefit your back pocket and the nutrition needs of your family but also benefit local farmers and reduce the impact of our food choices on the environment!
If you are eager to learn more about how you can shop seasonally and improve your nutrition, visit our website to organise an appointment with one of our brilliant Dietitians today!