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If you head to the grocery store today, you buy mangoes, winter squash, and avocados. You can buy exotic dried fruit from all around the world, as well as local produce from your town.
While I truly love eating avocados and mangoes all year round, it can leave us forgetting about local, seasonal foods and the wide variety of delicious nutrients they offer.
It’s easy to eat seasonally in the summer when farmer’s markets are filled with gorgeous greens and beautiful blueberries. Yet, in the winter, a lot of people forget about eating seasonally – maybe because root veggies don’t seem as exciting.
Why Should you Eat Seasonally?
1. First of all, variety!
By the time fall comes around, I’m excited for winter squash season, but I’m so down by spring. Eating seasonally offers variety for your taste buds, but it also offers a huge variety of nutrients. Each plant food has its own unique range of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytonutrients.
By eating seasonally, you’re exposing your body to different nutrients to support great health all year round.
2. More nutritious foods (if local).
Eating local, seasonal food will likely have more nutrients than grocery store produce that’s spent weeks traveling and sitting in the store. Consider buying a CSA to support local farms and save money – my winter CSA offers me tons of organic, local, seasonal produce all winter for way way less than what I would spend on organic veggies in the store.
3. Saves you money.
Eating seasonally saves you money! You may notice the difference in price of different veggies at different times of the year. When you buy seasonally, you’ll save money compared to buying $6 small containers of blueberries in January.
Bonus: Find a winter’s farmer’s market or CSA. You’ll connect with local farmer’s and see what’s actually seasonal in your area.
Here’s my top 5 tips on how to eat seasonally in the winter.
1. Stock up on Root Veggies!
Mm, these really are my favorites, and onions and garlic are my immune system powerhouses during the winter. Seriously, when I was sick a few weeks ago, a spoonful of chopped raw garlic with raw honey cured my terribly sore throat.
- Beets are gorgeous veggies and promote natural detoxification in the body by stimulating glutathione – our master antioxidant.
- Onions & garlic are rich in sulfur and prebiotics to feed our gut flora.
- Winter squash is rich in fiber and nutrients to make them a nutrient-rich carbohydrate.
Roast up a big pan of root veggies – carrots, parsnips, and squash are my favorites – with coconut oil and spices. Throw onions and garlic in soups, chilis, or curries. Whip up a creamy coconut milk soup with winter squash.
2. Try a New-to-You Veggie.
This weekend, go to a farmer’s market (I dare you). Pick up a new winter veggie to challenge yourself.
Have you ever had black radishes? Kohlrabi? Rutabaga?
Browse Pinterest or your favorite food bloggers to find delicious recipes for these new-to-you veggies.
3. Make your Crockpot your Best Friend.
Right now, I have a veggie packed + venison stew brewing in my crockpot. My house smells delicious, and it was the quickest meal I’ve made in a while.
You can get fancy with your crockpot, but if you’re busy or lazy with your cooking, just throw root veggies, broth (make your own bone broth!), and a meat into the crockpot. Let it simmer all day, and you’ll have the best dinner ready for you after work.
4. Fermentation Fun.
You know how important fermented foods are, right? Well, this is the perfect time to ferment veggies – cabbage, jalapenos, carrots, whatever you’d like.
I’m not a big fan of cabbage on its own, but make it into sauerkraut, and I’ll eat the whole head of it in a week. Delicious!
5. Have Dinner Dates with New Recipes
One of my new goals for this year is to make one new recipe each week. It’s so easy to get stuck in a cooking rut and eat the same few meals on rotation.
Grab your best friend, significant other, or coworker, and set up regular dinner dates. Find a fun new recipe – you know, all those Pinterest recipes you save but never use. Cook together, and enjoy a delicious meal with a loved one.
Soon, you’ll have a list of new go-to, nutrient-rich, seasonal recipes, plus a whole lot of fun with friends.