Fall is one of my favorite times of year. After a long, hot, very active summer, I’m ready for the calm that fall brings… not to mention the beautiful colors in the mountains, cooler breezes, and home-cooked comfort food. The kids are back in school, and schedules have set in. Fall brings routine.
There aren’t too many cons when it comes to fall, but I’m guessing many of you mourn the end of your favorite summer foods with the end of summer. That doesn’t have to be the case! So many of us rely on spring and summer for fresh produce, but there are countless fruits and veggies that are in season right now. Fall is a great time to try new things or bring home old favorites like pumpkin, squash, zucchini, grapes, turnips, radishes, apples, figs, pears, and even sweet potatoes.
There are so many benefits to eating what’s in season, too. For example, it will save you money. Produce grown locally typically costs less than foods shipped in from other places. I don’t know about you, but I hate spending more money than I need to, especially on food. Eating clean isn’t exactly cheap, so if I can cut costs by buying local, I’m all for it. The supermarket is an obvious choice, but don’t forget about local farmer’s markets and produce stands that usually stay open well into the fall months.
Another reason to eat “seasonally” is that the produce tastes better! Think about it — if the food is grown locally, it goes from the crop to the market to your table in less time. Foods that are out of season usually come from out of state or in many cases out of country. That adds a lot of time to the cycle, which means it’s less fresh by the time it reaches your table.
Eating seasonally also adds variety to your diet. I’m a creature of habit. I could eat the same thing day in and day out. It’s easy. But buying foods that are in season forces me to step outside my comfort zone. It encourages me to try foods I’ve always wondered about but never had the courage to prepare, like eggplant and the many varieties of squash (which, by the way, I’ve learned I really like).
Finally, another important reason to buy produce that’s in season is because it’s better for you. How so? A lot of nutrients are lost when foods are shipped long distances. Plus, to help kill bacteria that can multiply when food sits, a lot of companies will “zap” it with irradiation, which many believe affects the nutritional content of food, and spray it with preservatives to help it last longer.
Need help finding seasonal produce all year long? Check out this link!
My challenge to you is to try something new. Experiment. Search for a recipe on the BodyLab website that uses fresh fall produce, and visit the BodyLab Community to share your favorite healthy fall recipes!