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What is Seasonal Eating? An Overview and a Free Recipe Bundle

Updated: Dec 20, 2023




Walk into any big-brand supermarket, and you’ll likely find any food on your list. Even in the dead of winter, you’ll come across seasonal summer fruits like berries, cherries, and peaches. The same goes for summer — even during the hottest months of the year, winter squash and other cold-weather foods line the produce shelves.


Don’t get me wrong, it’s great to have easy, year-round access to a wide range of whole foods — like fruits, veggies, nuts, and seeds. But nature didn’t intend for it to be that way! Before genetically modified farming and a heavy reliance on fossil fuels, seasonal eating was the norm. If it wasn’t in season, it wasn’t available!


Times have undoubtedly changed, but there’s something to be said about this way of eating. From benefiting the environment to bettering your health, there are so many reasons to consider eating with the season.


Ahead, I'm breaking down the basics of seasonal eating. Find out what’s in season, the benefits of seasonal eating, and how to get started!


What is Seasonal Eating?


Even if not intentional, you’re probably already eating with the season — at least to some extent! Our bodies naturally crave certain foods during different seasons.


So what is seasonal eating, anyway? The concept is simple — just like it sounds, seasonal eating is a way of eating that encourages you to eat in-season foods.


It’s not a diet at all. It’s simply a lifestyle that encourages you to be mindful of your food choices and, as best you can, fill your plate with local and seasonal foods. That said, with various regions and countries in mind, what’s in season will look different for everyone.

But why should you eat with the season in the first place? I'm so glad you asked!






The Benefits of Eating With the Season


It’s Better for the Environment


Without a doubt, eating with the season is better for the environment. Simply put, the food industry plays a significant role in environmental sustainability. If it’s not locally grown, the journey to get to your plate often involves a large carbon footprint. The further food is harvested, the more energy and resources it consumes to get to you. According to data, the average American meal travels over 1,500 miles before it gets to your kitchen. This means increased fossil fuels, carbon dioxide emissions, and waste from storage and packing.


By eating with the season and shopping for locally grown foods, you reduce the demand for out-of-season foods. The result? Less travel, fewer greenhouse emissions, and reduced waste and energy from storage and packaging. A win for sustainability!


In-Seasonal Foods Are More Nutrient-Dense


Out-of-season fruits and veggies are typically harvested well before peak freshness so they arrive ripe and ready to eat. By picking these fruits and veggies too early, you’re losing out on good-for-you nutrients. Studies suggest that when allowed to ripen on their own, fruits and vegetables contain more nutrients, giving us one more reason to consider eating with the season!


You’ll Get Superior Quality And Taste


Local and seasonal go hand in hand — i.e., seasonal foods are often grown locally. If you’re eating with the season, you’re likely to find foods that are fresher, tastier, and picked at their prime. Rather than eat a tomato that’s been harvested too early and then sprayed with chemicals or covered in wax to prolong its shelf life, you’ll get freshly picked, flavorful food.


What’s in Season


Here are the most common fruits and veggies by season! Remember: this may be different depending on your climate or location.


Spring Seasonal Produce


Fruits

Apples

Apricots

Bananas

Kiwifruit

Lemons

Limes

Pineapples

Strawberries


Vegetables

Asparagus

Avocados

Broccoli

Cabbage

Carrots

Celery

Collard Greens

Garlic

Kale

Lettuce

Mushrooms

Onions

Peas

Radishes

Rhubarb

Spinach

Swiss Chard

Turnips


Summer Seasonal Produce


Fruits

Apples

Apricots

Avocados

Bananas

Blackberries

Blueberries

Cantaloupe

Cherries

Honeydew Melon

Lemons

Limes

Mangos

Peaches

Plums

Raspberries

Strawberries

Watermelon


Vegetables

Beets

Bell Peppers

Carrots

Celery

Corn

Cucumbers

Eggplant

Garlic

Green Beans

Okra

Summer Squash

Tomatillos

Tomatoes

Zucchini


Fall Seasonal Produce


Fruit

Apples

Bananas

Beets

Cranberries

Grapes

Kiwifruit

Lemons

Limes

Mangos

Pears

Pineapples

Raspberries


Vegetables

Bell Peppers

Broccoli

Brussels Sprouts

Cabbage

Carrots

Cauliflower

Celery

Collard Greens

Garlic

Ginger

Green Beans

Herbs

Kale

Lettuce

Mushrooms

Onions

Parsnips

Peas

Potatoes

Pumpkin

Radishes

Rutabagas

Spinach

Sweet Potatoes & Yams

Swiss Chard

Turnips

Winter Squash


Winter Seasonal Produce


Fruit

Apples

Avocados

Bananas

Grapefruit

Kiwi

Lemons

Limes

Oranges

Pears

Pineapples


Vegetables

Beets

Brussels Sprouts

Cabbage

Carrots

Celery

Collard Greens

Herbs

Kale

Leeks

Onions

Parsnips

Potatoes

Pumpkin

Rutabagas

Sweet Potatoes & Yams

Swiss Chard

Turnips

Winter Squash


How to Get Started With Seasonal Eating


While it can be daunting to adjust your eating style, getting started with seasonal eating is easier than you think. You don’t need to uproot your lifestyle, and you don't need to avoid all of your favorite out-of-season foods until they’re in peak season!


Instead, use this seasonal eating guide as a starting point to help guide your food choices. It’s about mindfulness and effort, not perfection and restriction. Follow the above recommendations, further research the in-season foods in your area, and, as best you can, load up your plate with these nutrients!


There is a reason we crave lighter, cooler foods in the Summer, and more comforting, warming foods in the Winter. Listen to your body.


There are so many ways to get started. You could grow your own garden, hit up your local farmers market or CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), or simply shop for seasonal goods at your local market! Find what works best for you.




Want some seasonal butternut squash recipes?

Get your free download here:



Whole Plate Butternut Squash Recipes
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