Eating Seasonal – Getting your Nutritional Bang for your Buck
You’ll often hear people talking about the importance of eating seasonal, local produce. I think it may be one of the few areas that all Nutritionists and other health professionals agree that there is some benefit to be had. In fact, there are quite a few advantages to eating in this way so here are my FOUR favourites:
Yup, its super easy to get stuck in the habit of eating the same 3 vegetables and the same 2 fruits day in and day out. Its no wonder I have clients who tell me they don’t like vegetables. No one wants to eat the same thing every day. But when you eat seasonally, the fruit and veggies you have to choose from change with the months of the year! You’ll be eating mangoes through Summer, strawberries in Spring, kiwis in Autumn and mandarins in Winter.
Eat your rainbows. It’s true what they say about eating a rainbow every day. Mixing up the fruit and veggies you eat every day exposes you to a greater number of important phytochemicals, or plant nutrients that your body needs to stay healthy. The different colours of your foods are actually because of the nutrients they contain.
Fresh is best. Local seasonal produce is left on its plant for longer, giving it time to develop all of its nutrients and then they are picked when they are at their peak. That means you’re actually getting slightly more vitamins than you would if you chose fruits that were not in season and travelled across the globe to your table.
There’s no denying the environmental impact of transporting food over long distances. So you’re also helping out the environment by reducing your carbon footprint when you buy locally grown produce.
What’s in season now?
One of my favourite fruits are coming into season now – cherries. And whilst they are delicious eaten on their own, I have a very simple way of making them extra fun.
But first – what’s so good about a cherry nutritionally? Cherries and other purple or deep red foods are high in anthocyanins, which are a type of antioxidant. There’s some good evidence to be found around these and their ability to boost cognitive function as well as help prevent cardiovascular disease and even cancer.
Recipe time now. This is a really easy one to get you started.
Line a tray with baking
g paper and set aside. Wash a big handful of fresh cherries and dry, or allow them to stand and air dry for a while. Melt 100g of good quality dark chocolate. I use the microwave, personally.
Carefully dip each cherry into the dark chocolate and place on your lined tray. This is much easier if you use the ones that still have their stalks attached, but if lots have come off, you can just as easily drop them into the chocolate and fish them out with a spoon.
Leave in the fridge to set. I promise, if you are having guests for dinner and are pressed for time, dark chocolate covered fruit will be a simple, crowd pleasing dessert that even the unskilled of cooks can manage! You could also dip strawberries or mandarins into your chocolate – which are also in season right now!
The other added benefit – dark chocolate is full of antioxidants, iron and a range of other minerals.