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Your Guide to Healthy Eating in Season

Healthy eating is a year-round activity, but buying produce that’s in season is the key to maximizing your budget and getting the most flavor and nutrition out of your food. Some fruits and veggies can be grown year-round, like apples, bananas, and lettuce. Check out our guide for the best times to consume some of our favorite fruits and veggies. 

Summer

Berries are a super versatile fruit that can be used in cocktails, desserts, salads, and more. They grow best in hot, sunny weather and can add a juicy, delicious, and tart accent to any dish.

Melons are also a summer favorite, so it’s no surprise that the best time to consume them is when the weather is hot and warm. Watermelon slices make a delicious, hydrating snack perfect for the beach or pool.

Okra is another hot weather veggie derived from the hibiscus plant. You can serve okra lightly fried or sauteed, but watch your cooking time as it can become slimy if it gets too much heat.

Vine-ripened tomatoes are essential for summer. To preserve the flavor year round, consider canning fresh tomatoes to use in sauces in the winter.

Fall

Getting kids into healthy eating isn’t always easy, and the mention of brussel sprouts is typically met with disgust. But these mini cabbages are becoming an ever popular side dish to serve at parties and holiday gatherings. Roasted brussel sprouts are very versatile and work well with garlic, shaved into a salad, or drizzled lightly with balsamic vinegar.

The popular “superfood” kale makes its freshest debut in fall. To get rid of the bitterness, try coating in olive oil and massaging the washed greens in a bag for one minute. The squeezing motion helps the kale release some of the oils that can leave a bitter aftertaste.

Mushrooms are a truly magical fungus and are full of iron. These little plants are hearty and give a rich flavor to food in place of heavier fats like butter or cream. Try throwing some in with your brussel sprouts on the roasting pan for a delicious autumn side dish.

Pumpkins aren’t just for Halloween decorations! This autumn squash can serve as the base of a warm soup or star in Thanksgiving’s favorite dessert, pumpkin pie. Roast the seeds and toss them in a salad or eat them on their own.

Winter

It may seem weird, but citrus fruits like grapefruits and oranges actually come into season in the winter. In places like California and Florida, you can find more citrus fruits in the summer and fall, but for the rest of the country, winter is the best time to buy and enjoy citrus.

Leeks are related to onions and garlic, and are a good alternative to your traditional allium seasonings. They are very pungent when eaten raw, so it’s best to saute or roast them lightly. You can also feature them more prominently in hearty winter dishes like Potato Leek Soup.

Much like its name denotes, winter squashes like spaghetti and butternut make their debut in the winter. Soups and sides abound with these special fruits (yes, squash is fruit!) and can be made sweet or savory.

Spring

Apricots and other stone fruits are best in the spring. Dried apricots and peaches can be enjoyed longer and are a great, sweet snack to pack in lunches.

Asparagus is delicious and nutritious, packing tons of vitamins in every stalk. Roasting with a little sea salt and olive oil is one of our favorite ways to enjoy this green goodness.

Healthy eating doesn’t have to be hard, and fresh cut pineapple is a reminder of just how delicious fresh fruits can be. If the weather starts heating up, try making your own fresh pineapple popsicles for a fresh, icy treat.

Rainbow swiss chard is an underutilized leafy green. The healthy, beautiful leaves easily take on the flavor of whatever seasoning you pair with it, and can be served as a hot side, or toss in a salad for some added nutrition (and beauty).

 

Depending on where you live, your seasons of healthy eating may look different. Pay attention to prices in the grocery store, or better yet, stop by the local farmers’ market for the freshest produce near you.

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