Nothing tastes better than eating seasonal foods at their peak freshness. Yet, there’s more than flavour behind why this growing food trend is gaining traction – it can be a more sustainable choice. However, it’s important for your health to take a holistic approach to seasonal eating – here’s what you should know:
Seasonal eating is a phrase used to refer to consuming foods when they are at their peak freshness. You’ve probably done this: a crisp apple in autumn, or a juicy berry in the summer. The flavour is incredible! However, up here in the Great White North, winter covers farm fields in snow, making it hard to eat seasonally. The answer: for optimal health try a holistic approach to seasonal eating.
Eating seasonally is more delicious.
When in season, fruits and vegetables are delicious. A ripe, juicy peach from the local farm or vine-ripened tomatoes are arguably the most delectable mouthfuls of the summer. Crisp apples off the tree in the fall are packed with flavour. Lettuce not forget the sweet crunch of cucumbers or the buttery flavour of squash when eaten in season. Out-of-season produce often needs to be harvested early to ensure its suitable for long-distance transportation. The result is less flavour and nutrient loss.
Eating seasonally is more nutritious.
Fruits and vegetables lose nutrients from field to table – the longer that process takes, the fewer nutrients are available. In a study, researchers found the amount of nutrients in fresh fruits and vegetables drop the longer they are stored. In fact, that spinach in your fridge has lost half of its folate content in about a week, according to Penn State researchers. The shorter the time from harvest to consumption the more nutrients you’re getting per bite. Eating seasonally grown fruits and vegetables is a nutritious choice.
Eating seasonally is more sustainable.
Plus, it’s a sustainable diet – the smaller the distance between your plate and the field your food was grown reduces the energy required to ship your meal. The lower carbon footprint of eating a local fruit or vegetable that is in season can add up.
Grow your own food in a pot on your patio or in a raised bed in your yard during the summer. In winter, you can nurture small herb plants near a window. Visit your local farmer’s market from spring thru autumn to find fresh, local, in-season produce. Feeling adventurous? Learn about foraging for edible plants – be sure to do this carefully and safely.
Here are some delicious, nutritious, seasonal eats you can enjoy all year-round in Canada.
Apples, pears, squashes, and potatoes are in season in the fall. You may enjoy trying these delicious recipes:
When seasonal eating is limited frozen produce becomes a nutritious choice. Studies show frozen fruits and vegetables (particularly broccoli) are as nutritious as fresh – in some cases, more nutritious. In fact, research has shown that frozen produce can even be more nutritious than its 5-day fresh-stored counterparts.
As the plants start to grow, some
One of the best seasons in Canada, summer is one of the best times of year to enjoy eating seasonally. Read more in our blog on Best Foods to Eat this Summer.
Eating seasonally is a more nutritious and delicious way to enjoy healthy foods, all while lowering your carbon footprint. Learn more about easy ways to incorporate holistic approaches to healthy living into your day through programs offered at CSNN Distance Education.
Selected nutrient analyses of fresh, fresh-stored and frozen fruits and vegetables. J Food Comp Analy 2017 June; 59:8-17
Vitamin retention in eight fruits and vegetables: a comparison of refrigerated and frozen storage. J Agric Food Chem 2015 Jan 28; 63(3):957-62.
Effect of eating seasonal on the carbon footprint of Swedish vegetable consumption. J Cleaner Prod 2013 Nov 15; 59:63-72.
Mindful consumption: a customer-centric approach to sustainability. J Acad Market Sci 2011 Aug 17; 39: 21-39.
Contributed by Allison Tannis
Known for her deliciously geeky words, Allison’s articles and books are read around the world by those curious about where to find the most delicious (and nutritious) places to stick their forks. More at allisontannis.com. Follow @deliciouslygeeky.