Seasonal produce can play a large - and helpful - role in eating clean. The term “seasonal produce” describes produce when it has been purchased and consumed around its harvest time. If you pay attention to when and where you should be eating certain fruits and vegetables, it can have a multitude of benefits.
Seasonal produce tastes better. If you’re struggling to eat your veggies, it might be because you’re eating them during the wrong time of year. Because seasonal produce is harvested and eaten within its natural cycle, it has time to reach natural maturity. Therefore, seasonal produce has a much better taste than if it were harvested earlier in its life cycle.
Seasonal produce is better for the environment. Eating seasonal produce is more environmentally friendly than eating out of season. When you eat produce out of season, it usually has to be shipped from farther away, which means the produce has to be harvested earlier so that it isn’t overripe when it arrives. To save the fruits and veggies from the long hauls, try eating them when they’re in season. That way, they can be shipped from a closer location to you, or might even be grown locally. Additionally, seasonal produce typically requires less pesticides (but we have more on that later).
Seasonal produce is better for your budget. One of the largest deterrents for eating clean is its expense. Organic produce, though healthier, can be more expensive. It can be very difficult to spend time and money finding and preparing all-natural products. However, one of the ways to offset the cost is to save when you buy seasonal produce. In fact, buying seasonal produce is one of our recommended tips for eating clean on a budget. It tends to be a bit cheaper because of supply and demand—when produce is in-season, the supply is much larger, so the price will go down.
Seasonal produce is more natural. The natural quality of seasonal produce is twofold: first, produce that is grown in its natural environment will have natural protections in place for survival. Therefore, the produce will need less pesticides to survive, which means that you (as the consumer) will eat less chemicals. Second, seasonal produce supports your body’s natural nutritional needs. This is why more dense vegetables are usually best in the winter—they go well in hearty soups and stews—and why lighter, airier vegetables like spinach are better for our bodies in the spring and summer months.
Seasonal produce is more nutritious. One of our not-so-secret keys to health is eating clean, or eating whole foods. Foods that are less processed tend to contain more nutrients, because the nutrients have had less time to degrade. A strawberry that is shipped across the world will have had more time to lose its nutritional benefits, while a strawberry that is grown locally retains its nutrients, because it has been harvested more recently. To maximize the impact of your whole foods diet—and extract all the nutrients—it’s best to buy seasonal produce.
Seasonal produce looks better. Not to get into the superficial qualities of the food, but if you’re attempting to decorate your kitchen and you want a way to brighten the space, go for the in-season produce. Because of its natural freshness, it’ll tend to look and smell a little bit better than its out-of-season counterpart.
Now that you know the benefits of eating seasonal produce, it’s time to get to it! Check out the comprehensive guide on how to store your produce below. This will help you keep your seasonal produce fresh for as long as possible, so you can maximize on its benefits.