The fruit and veg sections of a supermarket may look the same every week but behind this there are very distinct and various seasonal fruits and vegetables that are locally produced as a result of the changing weather. Eating seasonally is eating foods that are ready to harvest at the same time of year that you’re eating them.
Autumn signals that Winter is coming to our bodies and a desire to consume more energy dense foods such as fats and carbs. This is because our energy decreases during the colder months and we find ourselves craving warming meals. Eating seasonal foods like root vegetables help us fill up on healthy, fibre-rich sources as opposed to unhealthy, processed food.
Why is eating seasonally so important?
It’s more environmentally friendly and sustainable
When we import food to the UK, it often comes with a massive carbon footprint. Eating seasonally reduces the demand for out-of-season produce and subsequently the energy and associated CO2 emissions released through refrigeration, transportation, artificial hothouses etc., needed to grow and transport the food we eat.
It tastes better
Food that is grown and picked in season will taste much riper, fresher, and sweeter than food transported long distances which is often picked ahead of its ripeness. Foods in season also contain nutrients, minerals, and trace elements that our bodies need at that particular time of the year.
It’s more affordable
Eating local food that’s in season reduces the cost of food as there’s no large transportation or storage costs, if there is a particularly large harvest of in-season produce costs naturally decrease. Eating seasonally also supports the local economy, with the majority of produce coming from local farms across the U.K.
It reduces food waste
Sometimes locally produced food suffers from over production, supply can sometimes exceed demand, resulting in food waste. If more people consumed the fruit and vegetables that are grown locally, this problem could be minimised as the demand would better match the supply from local farmers, helping our local economies in the process.
What foods are in season during Autumn?
A healthy, seasonal diet in autumn might be a mixture of the following:
- Root vegetables: carrots, squash, pumpkin and sweet potato
- Whole grains: brown rice, quinoa, oats and millet
- Legumes: beans, chickpeas, lentils, soybeans.
- Green vegetables: broccoli, spinach, kale, celery, rocket and artichokes
- Fruit: apples, pomegranates, citrus fruits and pears
- Fish: sea bass, cod, sole and haddock
- Herbs: ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, rosemary, thyme, basil and dill.
Tips for eating seasonally this Autumn
- Keep hydrated! Dehydration is common in cooler months as the lack of hot weather can fail to signal our thirst and ensure we’re drinking enough.
- Get your vitamins with the citrus fruit. Citrus fruit is abundant during the colder months, snack on oranges or make a scrumptious salad with some citrus and winter greens like kale.
- Sneak as many fibre-filled vegetables into your Autumn diet with hearty soups. Add any bean, lentils, greens, whole grains, and veggies you may have along with protein, such as tofu.