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ANTON NEWSPAPERS: Benefits of Seasonal Eating

June 27, 2016

As a columnist for Anton Newspapers, I'm passionate about delivering practical and useful information to the community. As the seasons change, our eating habits can certainly benefit by changing with them!

 

The summer brings about beautiful and bright produce that is at the peak of its nutritional value and flavor. Eating seasonally also has several other benefits that many of us don't know about. In my latest Anton Newspapers article, I explain what seasonal eating means and its benefits. Summer seasonal fruits and vegetables are also highlighted in this piece.

 

Here is the text from the article, which can be found published in Anton Newspapers June 8 - 14, 2016 issues.

 

Seasonal eating is a health trend that never goes out of style. Each season offers a new variety of beautiful fruits and vegetables. The summer especially boasts a wide variety of seasonal produce that you can enjoy.

 

When you are shopping at the supermarket, you may neglect certain seasonal items that have a wide variety of health benefits. Not only is seasonal produce at its peak nutritional value, but it can also add more flavor to your meal at an affordable price. Learning about seasonal eating can inspire you to incorporate these salubrious foods into new recipes.

 

Here are a few benefits of seasonal eating, and information on what fruits and vegetables are in season this summer.

 

Affordability

Although this is a simple concept, it’s easy to overlook the frugality of seasonal eating.  When you purchase foods that are in season, you are buying food that is at the peak of its supply. When produce is in a large abundance, the cost goes down. If your produce is sourced locally because it’s in season in your area, the traveling and storage expenses are typically not necessary. This seasonal food costs less for farmers and companies to harvest and distribute, which in turn benefits your wallet.

 

Nutritional Value

Fruits and vegetables that are in-season are harvested and sold at the peak of the season. Produce at this time is more likely to be fresher, thus increasing its nutritional value. In-season produce is also quite supportive of your body’s nutritional needs. For example, summer fruits like stone fruits (i.e. apricots, nectarines, peaches, plums) provide beta-carotenes and carotenoids that help protect from sun damage.

 

Peak Flavor

Who doesn’t love a juicy, delicious orange or sweet pineapple when it is in season? A perfect piece of fruit is refreshing and nutritious. However, when produce is out-of-season, it is harvested earlier and refrigerated to prevent spoiling. This out-of-season produce is usually sourced from locations with a different climate. The produce is harvested earlier and stored for a long period of time, which can increase the price and sacrifice flavor. Purchasing seasonal fruits and vegetables can help avoid these problems and provide a crispy and delicious healthy treat.

 

Environmentally Friendly

Not only is eating seasonally and locally good for you and your wallet, but it's also good for the environment and community. Seasonal eating reduces the demand for produce that is out-of-season. Sourcing produce locally helps support local farming and minimizes the need for excess transportation, refrigeration, and irradiation of produce. Supporting small and midsize local farmers helps cut down on pollution from a long shipping experience, and also reduces your carbon footprint. Eating healthy and making an environmentally friendly choice makes seasonal eating a win-win.

 

Summer offers the finest produce and refreshing ingredients. Seasonal summer produce is typically rich in various vitamins and antioxidants. Try these delectable summer items for an enjoyable and affordable meal:

 

  • Apricots

  • Basil

  • Beets

  • Bell Peppers

  • Blackberries

  • Blueberries

  • Cantaloupe

  • Cherries

  • Corn

  • Eggplant

  • Figs

  • Honeydew Melon

  • Nectarines

  • Peaches

  • Plums

  • Raspberries

  • Strawberries

  • Sugar Snap Peas

  • Summer Squash

  • Tomatoes

  • Watermelon

  • Zucchini

 

To learn more about seasonal produce in your area, visit www.sustainabletable.org/seasonalfoodguide/ and put in your state and time of year.

 

 

Xoxo,

Stef

 

*This article was originally published in Anton Newspapers.

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