During the colder, darker winter months, our bodies need certain vitamins and nutrients to keep us healthy and happy through the chill and gloom. Luckily, nature has caught on and grows an abundance of seasonal fruits and vegetables that provide things like vitamin C, vitamin D, and antioxidants. Are you filling your plate with the best food for your body and mind during the winter season? Take a moment to share what you had for a meal in the past 24 hours—was any of that food in season?
Do you pay attention to the price of produce? If so, you’ll notice that off-season fruits and veggies balloon in price! By eating in-season, you’ll not only get more delicious tasting food on your plate, but you’ll also shave off a pretty penny on your grocery bill.
Our Ancestors had no choice! It’s an extremely recent development in human history to have access to a plethora of produce year-round. Before we had the ability to walk into a supermarket and have our choice of tropical fruits in the middle of winter, we had to eat what was seasonally (and geographically) available to us. Take some time to look into old recipe books; you might get some great inspiration for dinner!
Science has shown us that vitamin C can help reduce the duration of cold symptoms, meaning that it can help you start feeling better, faster.
Coincidentally, one of our most beloved sources of vitamin C, citrus fruits, naturally ripen in early winter, just in time to deliver their nutrients amid the cold and flu season.
How can I find out what is in season? I get this question a lot, so here are a couple of tricks I’d like to share with you:
- Ask your grocery store! While a cashier might not know what’s in season, someone
- who’s stocking produce will be able to get you connected with the person who’s ordering that produce, and therefore knows what’s in season.
- Use your nose! Walk around the produce section and see what smells you can pick up on. Apples will smell delicious even from a few feet away in the fall months. Likewise, you should be able to pick up on the scent of citrus in December. Not sure if pineapple should be in season in November? Give it a sniff. If it smells like the actual fruit or vegetable (instead of just the faint smell of refrigeration), you’ve probably got an in-season product.
- Lastly, use a search engine. This one allows you to add your location and season so that you can discover what’s available in your area: https://bit.ly/3oBcfTJ
Are you making a recipe that requires an out of season ingredient? Don’t be afraid to improvise with frozen, canned, and dehydrated ingredients. For example, if a pasta sauce recipe calls for cherry tomatoes but there’s ice on the roads outside, substitute with canned tomatoes! If you’re making a trifle that calls for fresh raspberries, defrost some frozen ones instead. Canned and frozen goods can get a bad rap, but they’re actually just as nutritious as flavorful as their fresh counterparts—in some cases, even more so! Just make sure that you’re not picking canned foods with added salt or sugar.