As summer creeps closer, we brace for change. We brave bare legs, prepare for the silly season and brainstorm ways to amuse the family over the Christmas break. But despite all this change, we often maintain the same diet routine. Here’s why you might want to rethink your eating habits.
The rise of all-year-round foods
In the 1950s, mass food shipping and large-scale supermarkets saw food traveling around the world. Being able to chomp down on summer fruits in winter became a modern day marvel. However, there are several reasons why seasonal eating is better for you and the planet.
- Nutrition gets lost in transit
If your food has journeyed from afar to your plate, you’ll be missing out on much-needed nutrients (not to mention flavour). In order to stop fruit, veggies and meat rotting in transit, the produce is either picked prematurely or injected with artificial preserving agents. A review in the Journal of Science of Food and Agriculture revealed that food nutrition drops significantly in the days following harvesting. For example, spinach loses 75% percent of its vitamin C when stored for seven days; and carrots lose 10%. On top of this, fruit and veggies undergo refrigeration during transportation, followed by artificial ripening through a ‘hot house’ – both of which quash their delicious flavour.
- Budget friendly
Healthy eating is often thought to pinch your budget. But eating seasonally is actually cheaper. This is because in-supply food costs farmers less to harvest; and transportation companies less to distribute. Therefore, this is reflected in the consumer cost.
3. Seasonal is sustainable
Eating with the season helps to promotes a more resilient, sustainable food system. This is because transporting food over large distances requires a lot of energy, which produces harmful greenhouse gases. Then there’s the extra refrigeration, packaging and storing of unseasonal produce that leaves a greater environmental footprint.
- Harvest time is the right time
Nature seems to know with what our bodies need. In autumn, antioxidant-rich strawberries are at their peak, and citrus fruits like oranges, mandarins and lemons come alive – providing immune-boosting vitamin C to help us ward off colds and flus. Come spring and summer, tropical fruits like melons, nectarines and peaches ripen. These are full of beta-carotenes and carotenoids, which help to protect against sun damage. So follow what’s in season, and you’ll get the essential nutrients all year long.
- Seasonal supports local
Choosing peak-season produce is a simple way to support local Aussie farmers. Plus, there’s no guarantee that mainstream supermarkets haven’t kept food in storage until it’s ready to be sold. So, consider swapping your big grocer for your local farmers market, and you’re certain to get the best in fresh, organic, sustainable food.
- Fresh is a food exploration
Eating with the season is a sure way to broaden the variety of foods in your diet. Allow yourself to be exposed to new flavours, and with it you’ll adopt a healthier, more well-rounded diet.
What’s your favourite seasonal fruit or veg?